Red Stars Confidential

Red Stars Interviews Archives

Interview with Jill Loyden: face saving, kung fu kicking extraordinaire

After being named Lady of the Match for the Red Stars, I asked Jill Loyden if she would mind answering a few questions that the Red Stars Confidential staff put together for her.  She was more than happy to help.

Loyden and her teammates are currently on the road, awaiting the Red Stars game against 1st-place FC Gold Pride on Saturday

2010 May 7 Loyden Save.JPG

Loyden makes a save against her former team St. Louis Athletica. 

1. How does it feel to be named RS Confidential Lady of the Match?
It feels great to be Lady of the Match, however it was such a great team victory for us against Boston. We really came together as a team, it took all 22 players for us to get it done this week. It was a well deserved win.

2. How was your face feeling after you made an extraordinary save with it in the match against Boston (or so we hear)? 
Hahha, my face? Well right after it hit me I thought I got sucker punched, but after that I really don't remember, adrenaline was the only thing that kept me going.

3. How excited do you get when you make a sweet save?
After a good save I get pretty amped, mostly because it gets the team all fired up and they usually pick it up from there.

4. How badly do your hands smell after games? Worse than your shins?
Well, I dont think my hands smell too too bad after games, but Im sure you could find a couple of my teammates who would beg to differ.
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Ella Masar Interview

Red Stars Confidential got the privilege of being able to interview star Forward Ella Masar. Since professional soccer players get soccer questions all the time, we figured that we should have some fun with Ella.

NH:        The Red Stars have undergone a big transformation in the off-season. How do you feel coming back to what seems like a brand new team?
EM:        I am extremely excited. Anytime you have a disappointing season, as we did last year, we know changes need to be made. I have no doubt that the choices the Red Stars made in the off season will make us a better team and a top contender in the league.

NH:        What's it going to be like with Kate Markgraf back?
(after missing the 2009 season due to the birth of twins)
EM:        Kate Markgraf is a name that speaks for itself. She is not only a veteran of one of the best team's in our countries history but even more an amazing person. She is someone that will bring experience, heart, and pride to the Chicago name. I am truly flabbergasted to be able to call her my teammate.

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Ella Masar is the Chuck Norris of the Red Stars.

NH:        Which would you rather play for? The 2011 World Cup team or the 2012 Olympic team? (my hope is both)
EM:        haha that's like choosing between chocolate and long walks on the beach, not possible!  To be able to have your name on the back of the US jersey is a dream within itself. The hours of sacrifice, hard work, and dedication are something many people can't fathom (not even myself at times). Just to have that honor would be worth more than a Gold Medal and World Cup, those are just extra bonuses.

NH:        WPS puts a lot of effort into social networking: Facebook, Twitter, etc - do you think this helps bridge the gap between fan and athlete?
EM:        I definitely think that it helps. It's a way that the fans can interact with us and take a small step into our lives. Hopefully it can show the joy and love we have for them, as well as how much their respect and appreciation mean to us.

NH:        Who do you look up to professionally?

EM:        Lindsey Tarpley hands down. Humble and hungry is something that I strive to live by everyday and Linds is someone that upholds that to the highest regard. She is by far one of the most dedicated, humble, and hardest workers I know. She has allowed me to know and respect the journey of a national team and professional player that much more.

NH:        What's your pre-game play list on your iPod?
EM:        Hahaha, well in the past years it has been the Lil Wayne, Eminem, and any other rap music that gets my heart beating and blood a pumping. Yet this year, after taking a liking to movie soundtracks, I can't help and put on songs that are from an inspiring or dramatic scene. For instance the song "Promontory" from Last of the Mohicans or "Prime" from Transformers are two of my favs. If those don't make you feel like you can run climb the highest mountain, I'm not sure what else can :p

NH:        I looked at the Chicago Red Stars website and saw that you also do double duty as answering the phones for the Red Stars. Shouldn't Coach Hayes have you practicing instead of taking ticket orders?

EM:        lol, What can I say, being a professional comes with all sides of the spectrum. Anything that will allow me to be closer with the fans and help build our supporter base is something I can't turn down. 
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A tribute to Peter Wilt's time in Chicago

Just three months ago Peter Wilt, the founding President and CEO of the Chicago Red Stars, publicly announced that he was leaving Chicago and returning home to Milwaukee to serve as President and CEO of the Milwaukee Wave.

I first met Peter in the winter of 05/06 through our mutual friend Brandon Kitchens at a Section 8 Chicago event.  I instantly discovered how fun-loving, kind hearted, and charismatic Peter is by the enthusiasm he displayed for the people around him. He went out of his way to welcome, share drinks and laughs with my sister and I, as he naturally roamed the room as a best friend to everyone there.

In the months that followed, Peter found out how big of a role women's soccer had played in my life and what a huge fan I was of the women's game. In the summer of 2006 he asked me to be an intern for the yet to be named Chicago Red Stars.  I was beyond excited for an opportunity to work with Peter on the upcoming WPS team in Chicago, but sadly after a few weeks of assisting Peter I wasn't able to continue due to a new job. But that didn't stop me from further developing a friendship with Peter. 

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Peter Wilt & I (2009)

As Peter's friend I have continued to learn about the world of soccer and about friendship.  I will forever be grateful that I had Peter at my side during the wake of our dear friend, Brandon.  He reminded me of what an important role I had played in Brandon's life. I also have experienced numerous exciting times with Peter, such as the time I drove with him and Emma Hayes to Indianapolis to catch a FC Indiana vs. Chicago Gaels game.  These moments with Peter and many more in between have taught me the importance of wearing my heart on my sleeve, maintaining friendships with those around me, and possessing a passion and desire for whatever work that sits in front of me, whether it be blogging, running a supporters group, or my 9-5 desk job. 

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Meet Red Stars player Nikki Krzysik

When the WPS General Draft was taking place I followed along on twitter (@ChicagoRedStars) to find out what talented players the Red Stars drafted.  Since I had already volunteered to help out with the first ever supporters group (Chicago Local 134) for the team, I sent each newly drafted player an electronic message welcoming them to the team and telling them how excited I was for them to join the Red Stars.  Most of the players sent a simple "thank you" in response, which I genuinely appreciated. 

2009 August 5 Nikki close up.JPG
Just like all the other newly drafted Red Stars players- I also sent Nikki Krzysik a message wishing her the best of luck throughout the inaugural season.  She went above and beyond and sent me a few sentences telling me how excited she was to be coming to Chicago.  She also hunted down the e-mail address to our supporters group to express her excitement and appreciation.  This girl is one of a kind, and I think you'll truly enjoy the interview with her.

(Disclaimer: This interview was finished before the Red Stars last two matches of the season, which is why there are questions about getting knocked out of the playoffs rather than what it feels like to have the season come to a close. But I think you'll still appreciate it! Also, here's a link to the post leading up to this interview: What would you like to know about Red Stars player Nikki Krzysik?)


Here we go, here we go, here we go-ohhhh...

1. Just as I asked Chioma, how do you like living in Chicago?
I love living in Chicago. It is such a great city there is always something to do.

2. With Chicago comes awesome, usually fattening food like hot dogs- what do you eat on yours?
I actually haven't had any hotdogs in Chicago yet, but usual just ketchup or chili

3. While we're on the subject of food, what do you typically eat before a game?
I usually will eat either pasta or soup and sandwich.

On to the tough ones...

4. You were Selected in the 2nd round of the WPS General Draft (13th overall) to play for the Red Stars. What were your feelings when you were picked to play for the Red Stars and Emma Hayes?
I was really excited. I couldn't wait for pre-season to start.

5. Being a New Jersey native- were you hoping to be drafted to play for Sky Blue FC?
There was a part of me that would have loved to be home close to my family but I was very excited to come to Chicago.

2009 August 5 Nikki Dalme.JPG

Nikki Krzysik subs in for Marian Dalmy during the last home game of the season on August 2nd.

6. The last clubs you played for were the W League's Richmond Kickers and Jersey Sky Blue. From a player's perspective, how does playing in the W League differ from the WPS?
I believe that both leagues are very competitive, but playing for the WPS brings you to the next level.

7. Your Red Stars player profile has you listed as a midfielder- would you consider yourself a midfielder or defender? Which do you prefer playing? And if this is all true, when did you transfer from the midfield position to that of a defender?

I played both midfield and defense growing up and I love to play both. I really like different parts of each position. I like to defend but like the freedom of space from the defense and on the other hand I like that you get to win more 50/50 balls in the midfield and it is easier to get forward.

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What would you like to know about Red Stars player Nikki Krzysik?

2009 Nikki vs St. Louis.jpg

Nikki krzysik beats a St. Louis Athletica player to the ball in the Red Stars inaugural match this April.

Clifton, NJ native, Nikki Krzysik, was drafted to the CRS in the 2nd round of the WPS General Draft. She has started nine games for the Stars so far this season and collected the first ever yellow card in team history against St. Louis in the inaugural match. Even though she might draw a yellow every now and again on the field- she's one of the sweetest people I have crossed paths with and has agreed to do an interview with me. 

What do you want to know about Nikki?  Do you want to know what music she listens to before a game?  Or if she has any game day superstitions?   Leave questions in the comment section below, and as always, I'll pick a minimum of three to us for my interview with Nikki. ChicagoNow is undergoing upgrade construction today, so if you're having a hard time leaving a comment in the comment section, please send an e-mail to with all of your interview questions.  Deadline for questions is 5PM today (Wednesday, July 29th).

Red Stars interview: Chioma Igwe

In May, I had the opportunity to tag along with Red Stars staff and players at a Cubs
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Chioma Igwe goes in for a hard tackle against the Boston Breakers

game. Red Stars players- Lindsay Tarpley, Megan Rapinoe, Lydia Williams, and Chioma Igwe- lead Wrigley Field in the Seventh-inning stretch that day, and I had the fortune of meeting these wonderful ladies.  I sat next to Igwe during the game and chatted with her as I tried to pay attention to what was happening on the field (sorry, baseball lovers!). 

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'd be interviewing Igwe.  This is my first interview, so I apologize for the delay.  Igwe was more than happy to answer questions so her fans could get to know her better.  Here's more on the Red Stars fourth round draft pick, Chioma Igwe.


Here we go, here we go, here we go-ohhhh...

1. First and foremost, how do you like Chicago so far?
I actually love it. I was definitely intimidated at first because it snowed the first two months, but even though the weather is unpredictable I think there is so much to do here. I don't feel like I've explored even a quarter of the city and I have been here for about 5 months now.

2. With Chicago comes awesome, usually fattening food like hot dogs- what do you eat on yours?
Ketchup, mustard AND relish... Pretty gross I know.

3. While we're on the subject of food, what do you typically eat before a game?
I am not very consistent with my pre-game meals, but Potbelly's, Panera or Subway have yet to fail me.


On to the tough ones...

4. What were your feelings when you were picked to play for the Red Stars and Emma Hayes?
Too be honest I was shocked even though I had a heads up. The coaches had called me prior to the draft to inform me of their interest, but many of my friends had gotten calls from coaches from numerous teams. It was so tedious to watch the draft online because I had to keep pressing refresh to see the next pick. I was ecstatic to be picked to play for this club, I had heard nothing but good things about Emma and thought the Red Stars were definitely the best team on paper.

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Igwe with the ball against the Breakers

5. You've played defense, center and outside midfield for the Red Stars so far this season- what's your favorite position to play and why?
I LOVE holding mid because it's the position I feel most comfortable in and you get to do a bit of everything. Whether it's distributing the ball, tackling hard or attacking with the offensive players, you get to do a little of everything.

6. You're the first player in the league to accrue four yellow cards and be suspended from a game. How do you feel about that? And what goes through your mind when you go in for a hard tackle?
Hey, At least I made history in the inaugural season of this league, how many people can say they did that? I honestly do not go into a tackle attempting to hurt anyone by any means or to get a card for that matter. I just go in hard because 1. I am just a really intense player 2. Because I really want to win the ball and 3. because I don't want to get myself hurt, the moment you second guess yourself that's when things go wrong.

7. The Stars just recently went through a nine game winless streak. What do you do to stay focused? And the team?
I try and take the season as it comes, game-by-game, day-by-day. I focus on getting better individually and what I can do to help the team be more successful. Whether that's encouraging a teammate or working as hard as I can on the field. We are still in the running for the playoffs and Emma repeats one of her famous quotes to us everyday, "You have to go down to go up" and I truly believe that. We are a team that's dealt with a lot of adversity and those teams are you the ones who end up the most successful.

8. Last year you played soccer for FC Saarbr├╝cken in the German Bundesliga II league. What was the experience in Germany and with a German club like? Sprechen sie deutsche?
I actually did learn a little German while in the country. We had a private tutor come to our apartment about twice a week. Playing overseas in Germany was definitely a great experience because I got to see a different side of soccer. I have played in America my whole life, so my way of thinking was almost one-dimensional. Germany broadened my knowledge of the game and helped me add different aspects that weren't there to begin with, but have helped me to grow as a player.

9. You come from a family of footy players (dad and brothers). How did this influence you as a player?
My dad came from Nigeria, playing for their national team and going to a World Cup and Olympics, to play soccer in college. So of course I was practically born with a soccer ball attached to my foot. He coached both my brother's and I throughout our youths and so I pretty much owe my success to him. My brother's and I would always go out and compete against each other and I think that's what made me a tough player. I hated losing to my brothers... maybe that's why I get so many yellow cards.
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