Q&A with new defender Quavas Kirk

One of the new additions for the Portland Timbers in 2010, defender Quavas Kirk is set to report for preseason training camp in the coming days. Recently, he sat down to answer questions, several from fans, about the game and coming to the Rose City.

What do you know about the city of Portland? Have you ever been here before?
QK: I have been to Portland a few times but I never got around to seeing outside of my hotel, which is unfortunate. It will be a great experience checking out all the new scenes. Plus, I'm a big wildlife person so I can't wait to check out the great views in Oregon in general.
When you get to Portland, what are some of the things you’d like to do or see around the city?
QK: When I get to Portland I'm not sure what I would like to check out first. I hear there is plenty to do, so I guess I'll just walk around and enjoy everything I can.
On the field, what are you most looking forward to about the 2010 season with the Timbers?
QK: I'm just looking forward to playing with a great team and organization. It was a tough year for me last year and I'm really looking to get back on my feet, playing better this year then the last.
Coming up through the U.S. National Team youth system, you were more of an attacking player. Describe your transition to the defender position, and what that is like at the pro level.
QK: Well, starting out as a forward and making my way all the way back to defender isn't a rare thing it seems like these days. I was never really a very good forward. I was big, strong, and fast, but I was a late developer when it came to footwork. So in Residency I moved from forward to midfield because I could serve a ball well and I could move up and down the line pretty fast. That position stuck with me until I went to Minnesota, and playing defense was the best suited position for me there. I was told before I should play in the back because I'm very aggressive. So now I'm a right back; I love my position and I take pride in it.
With the experiences you have playing in different positions around the field, how would you describe your style of play as a defender?
QK: My style of play is very aggressive, both defensively and on the attack. I don't hold back when I play and I leave everything on the field. This game is my passion and it will show in my defensive play.
All players have different pre-game routines or rituals. What are yours?
QK: Well I like to think of it as the calm before the storm so I sit back, put my headphones on and listen to some rock music to get the blood flowing. Then, before we leave the locker room I tape my wrists and write F.U.G.E. on one side and the other is blank. I kneel and pray for my teammates, my family and my friends before we exit.
What is your favorite kit number, and what is the reasoning behind it? What digit(s) do you plan to/want to wear in Portland?
 - Luke D. (Beaverton, Ore.)
QK: Well my favorite number is five. I used to wear it all through club soccer and I've only gotten to wear it twice as a professional. I would love to wear it, but if it's taken, I will take whatever is available.
We gave up quite a few goals on crosses into the box last year. What do you bring to the backline that will help with that?
- John L. (Oregon City, Ore.)
QK: Well I would say height, but that has nothing to do with goals off of crosses. It’s all about being aggressive with that man you’re marking. It’s about beating your man to the ball and I plan to do that every time that ball is crossed.
What is your favorite city you’ve played in during your career and why?
- Emily B. (Portland, Ore.)
QK: I'm going to say Washington D.C., so far because my family for the most part is stationed in York, Pa., which is about an hour and a half away from where I played with D.C. United. So from time to time they would come down and watch me play and cheer me on. And as an added bonus, I met my girlfriend there and she's pretty cool.
How much did the chance to get back into MLS with the Timbers in 2011 influence your decision to sign with the club this season?
- John S. (Lake Oswego, Ore.)
QK: I would say it had an influence, but not a big one. This is a chance to play with a great club but also a chance to play for a great community. Last year was the first time I came to Portland to play and it was an amazing experience. I thought it was amazing seeing all the fans come out to support the team.
You’re only 21. What are your aspirations as a professional soccer player? What do you hope to accomplish during your career?
QK: I am still a child to the game, but I look forward to making a name for myself during my career. I love this game and I hope to play until I am 30 at least. So far it’s been a rollercoaster for me, but that's the game.