Bilingual Reporter Program: Interview with Joe Bendik

Student Rolando Valdovinos of Madison High School chats with Joe Bendik

Joe Bendik, Bilingual Reporter

Photo Credit: 
(Portland Timbers)

Presented by Providence Health & Services--Oregon and State Farm Insurance

The Bilingual Reporter program is designed to encourage Hispanic youth to be proud of their heritage and language. Students are nominated by their teachers and then apply to have the opportunity to interview a Timbers player or a member of the coaching staff. Following the interview, the selected students are required to write a report about the experience in English and Spanish. With a professional interview, the students are able to further develop their bilingual speaking and writing skills while exhibiting a passion for the sport. 

Q&A with goalkeeper Joe Bendik

Written by Rolando Valdovinos, Madison High School

I had the opportunity to interview Joe Bendik, a new goalie for the Portland Timbers. I also had the chance to roam around their facility. I watched as the players practiced. I visited their locker room where I saw the large amount of shoes they had. I immediately fell in love with the shoes because I love shoes, especially when it comes to soccer shoes.

Joe Bendik looks tall, tough, and intimidating from a distance. I didn’t know what to expect when I met him in person. My first encounter with Joe was right outside the field when he finished practice. I admired his light blue gloves as he walked toward the crew. I felt my feet starting to shake uncontrollably as well as my fingers. I was not sure if this was because of the cold weather or Joe's appearance.

As Kristel Wissel, the event coordinator, told Joe what our plans were and that he might be in for a little video recording.  He shook my hand and made a silly comment about being on TV.  Joe was a very friendly and funny person.

We all walked to the room to begin the interview. Joe sat down in front of me and we started to converse. I asked Joe for a brief description of himself.  He told me, "When I got out of college, I got picked up by a team in Norway, but when I wanted to come to the MLS, Portland was the first team interested, so I came to tryouts and it was a done deal." I asked Joe when did he start wanting to play soccer? He responded with a wide grin and said, "Well, I've been playing soccer since I was two." Joe also mentioned that his passion for the sport was his biggest motivation. Joe explained how becoming a professional changed his personality. "It’s not about just having fun anymore but it's also my job."

I had a great experience meeting other Timbers players in the process. I enjoyed learning so many new things that day that I will remember forever. I also thank all the people that made this possible for me, including my case manager, the ASPIRE intern at my school, and Kristel the coordinator of the event. It was a wonderful life experience meeting professional soccer players. This inspired me to work harder at pursuing my dream of becoming a professional soccer player someday.

This report is also available in Spanish.