We talked to Umbro athlete, goalkeeper Matt Lampson about beating cancer, playing with Bastian Schweinsteiger to securing the Chicago Fire goalkeeping starting job.
How long have you been playing in goal?
I started playing soccer when I was 5 back in Columbus, and first played as a goalkeeper when I was 8. My coach’s son always got to play in goal for my team. That pissed me off, so I wanted to play there instead because I thought I could do a much better job.
Where did you go to college?
I went to Ohio State University back home in Columbus. Our team was extremely good. I had a prolific freshman and sophomore year and after my junior year, I signed my pro deal with Columbus (Crew SC). I also graduated early with a major in biology and Latin. I was on my way to being a doctor and but I’ve obviously ended up playing soccer instead.
The Chicago Fire are second in the Eastern Conference. Can you explain what’s behind your upturn in form this season?
We’ve had a really great year I think the addition of three players, Dax Mccarty, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Nemanja Nikolic, those three guys have changed our team. Nikolic’s ability to score goals takes a lot of pressure off the team. Dax and Bastian completely change our whole team dynamic, they’re winners and that makes a huge difference.When you have guys like that, you control the game and it makes your job as a goalkeeper a lot easier.
You served as the backup goalkeeper for the Chicago Fire last year. How does it feel to have secured the starting spot this season?
Yeah I mean obviously I’ve gone as the team’s gone and I’d like to think I’m a part of it. I’d like to think I organize my team very well, I control my area well, I make big saves when I need to but I couldn’t do it without the team in front of me. Every soccer player will tell you if you get an opportunity you got to take it and that’s what I did. I’ve certainly gotten much better as each game has gone on and I hope to be one of the top goalkeepers in MLS by the end of the year.
What’s it like playing with Bastian Schweinsteiger?
It’s pretty incredible. You kind of lose it day to day because he’s a teammate of yours but when you sit back and think about it, that he’s one of my teammates it’s pretty humbling and is an awesome experience. I’m lucky to be playing with him.
What do you think the team can achieve this season?
I think without a doubt we can challenge for MLS Cup. We just have to continue what we’ve been doing so far this year. Ultimately we need to peak at the right time and that’s in the play offs.
You wear the Medusae II. What do you think of the boots?
Honestly probably one of the best cleats I’ve ever worn. They feel incredibly, incredibly comfortable. I love that they’re leather, I always like leather. The boots are top notch, definitely one of the best in the game.
Your personal story, having beaten cancer as a teenager is incredible. Can you tell us a bit about it and The Lampstrong Foundation?
It was a tough experience for me. I was diagnosed at 17 yrs old so at a tender age, when a lot of difficult things were happening socially. Most people go off to college at that time, but I had to stick around and save my own life. When you’re fighting cancer, you have to mature pretty quickly and work out what’s most important in your life. Ultimately though it made me a better person, but also a better soccer player because it made me appreciate the game that much more and made me want to be the best soccer player I could be.