On the eve of his return trip to the Pacific Northwest, Gig Harbor, Wash., resident Tally Hall chatted with HoustonDynamo.com about soccer in Seattle and his alma mater San Diego State, which made it to the Sweet 16 of this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament.
Disclaimer: This interview took place before San Diego State's 74-67 loss to Connecticut in Thursday's night Sweet 16 match.
HD: Talk a little about going back home and playing in Seattle.
TH: It’s where I grew up, so it’s always a little fond in the heart. It’s a business trip, so unfortunately I don’t get to go home and see a whole bunch of people. To be honest, I’m more concerned about getting three points on the road for the Dynamo.
HD: Are you expecting a lot of family and friends in attendance?
TH: My parents buy at least 40 tickets each time I come up, so it gets kind of crazy because a lot of my family comes out to see me play. It’s tough because I don’t really get to see them until after the game. I get to say hi to the group but to no one in particular. It’s probably more important for my family, but for me I treat it like any other game.
HD: What do you remember about the Seattle Sounders franchise growing up? Were they as popular then as they are now?
TH: They took another step up when they became an MLS team. I remember going to a couple games growing up. I didn’t really pay attention to it, but talking to [former Dynamo defender Craig] Waibel, I saw him play there. I also saw Preston Burpo, who was their goalkeeper, and I thought he was the man. Seattle was always behind the Sounders, but nothing like they are now.
HD: Talk a little about the youth soccer scene in Washington. Is soccer as big there in the youth community as it is elsewhere?
TH: It’s pretty serious. It doesn’t rival places such as Texas or Southern California, but there are some pretty good teams that come from Washington. Growing up it was a lot of fun, and they definitely take their soccer seriously.
HD: Aside from the Dynamo game this weekend, your alma mater San Diego State has made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Have you been following along?
TH: Unfortunately I’ve missed most of their games, but I’m definitely following along. It would be cool if they made the Final Four, which is in Houston. I haven’t even looked at the schedule to see if it would work out, but it would be fun to see the boys play here. When I was there, the team was pretty good, always fighting to make the tournament, but nothing like they are now.
HD: With the different guys in the locker room who had alma maters in the tournament, do the guys talk about it much and follow the games closely?
TH: I’m not in any of the pools, but there are definitely rivalries in the locker room. It’s pretty much UNC vs. everyone else. So you are either a UNC fan or you are rooting against them. After UNC beat Washington last week, I didn't hear the guys getting on [Mike] Chabala that much, although I’m sure something happened. I was trying to poke at the UNC guys saying, ‘I heard you guys had to cheat to win,’ and they didn’t like that too much, but I’m not in the pools, so I don’t get too involved with it.