soccerATX.com’s Anthony Mannino spoke with Austin’s own Michael Lisch ahead of his arrival back home to play with the Austin Aztex. The 21-year old, 6-foot, 4-inch former Westlake High School standout is the starting goalkeeper for the Wake Forest University Demon Deacons. Lisch started all 21 games for Wake Forest during the 2011 season and is slated to be the starter heading into the 2012 season.
Q: Why did you decide to join the Austin Aztex?
Michael Lisch (ML): A couple different reasons: I am excited about being able to go home to play in front of a home crowd as well as be at home for a while. It is a nice break every once in a while to go home from college, and the opportunity just sounded great. The coaches, David (Winner), Paul (Dalglish) as well, and the talent level seemed like it would be pretty high, so I was really excited about playing for a very competitive team this summer.
Q: Being from Austin, what is it like to have a team back in the city and be able to represent your hometown team?
ML: I think it means a lot. There is a lot of fan support in Austin and having read a couple blogs, it seems like everybody is pretty excited about the Aztex being back. I am just very excited to go back home and play in front of fans, family and other people I grew up with. I want to show them how much better I have gotten since they last saw me… I am pretty excited about the whole experience.
Q: How do you think playing for the Aztex will help your career?
ML: I am hoping that it is a very competitive environment and that the goalkeepers there are going to push me to become even better, along with all the other players. I think that if our team just has a very good mindset to compete day-in and day-out, it can be beneficial to improve everyone’s game.
Q: How will the experience of coming off a year being the full time starter at Wake Forest, in tough conference help the team?
ML: I think any time you have games at such a level like in the ACC, every single game you gain experience. Whatever competition you are going to be facing, you can always rely on the things you have learned, the mistakes you have made and how you competed.
Q: Is there a particular goalkeeper you try to emulate?
ML: I have always looked up to (Gianluigi) Buffon. … I have always loved the way he plays. … I would say my style is most like Buffon. Maybe not to the extent of being the Italian National starter, but I think I am most like him in terms of frame and the way I move.
Q: Are there things that you look to in Buffon that you try to do in game?
ML: For sure. I think a lot of it is the way he shot stops, because he has a similar frame and movement to me. Julio Cesar is a different type of keeper. He is a freak athlete with the spring that he always explodes. Buffon is more positional. He has a lot of spring. He gets the job done and makes big saves when he has to.
Q: In Daglish’s 4-2-3-1 attack minded system, what are you looking for from your defenders?
ML: I think the biggest thing is to stay compact defensively – allow very little shots, very little crosses. The better we can stay organized, the less that I’ll have to do and the better our team will fair. If we are attack minded, we are going to have to have the ball. If we stay more packed defensively and keep our lines, when we get the ball back we can go back right on and attack.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most about being in Austin?
ML: I am excited about playing first and foremost. That is my main focus for the summer – playing and getting better everyday and working out. But the cool thing is that I will be able to see my family a little bit. I’ll get to be with my brother who has been at Texas Tech for four years, and I haven’t really seen him but every other six months. It will be nice to see him and hang out with him for a little bit. Being with family and playing soccer is pretty much what I am excited about, and seeing old friends.