Interview with Former Celtic All-American Spencer Hanks
1. Do you have any favorite memories from the Celtic 2002 Boys team?
My favorite memory with the Celtic 2002 team is winning regionals and going to nationals in 2019. The team has always had a goal of reaching nationals and it felt great when we achieved it. We worked hard all summer to win the regional tournament and to play at nationals in Kansas. Unfortunately, we came up short in the national semi-final, but the journey was amazing and one I will never forget.
2. What was your favorite part of playing for Celtic?
My favorite part about playing for Celtic was the atmosphere. Baltimore Celtic is a very competitive, yet fun atmosphere. I was playing at a very high-level, while enjoying my soccer. I think that is crucial in all player development. Celtic gave me the opportunity to become the best player I can be and I am extremely grateful for that.
3. Do you feel that you were prepared for the transition to college soccer?
I think that Celtic prepared me very well for college soccer. The high-level games and practices allowed me to grow as a player and be ready for the next level.
4. Have there been any areas that have been difficult for you to adjust to in terms of college soccer?
Adjusting to college soccer was difficult. The play is faster, the players are bigger, everything is demanded at a higher level. Every single practice is intense. I definitely struggled with the physicality of the game. It took awhile to get used to.
5. You lost most of your last spring season of club soccer. As your college season finally begins, what have been some of the strangest or most challenging things about this past year for you?
The strangest and most challenging thing about this last year was simply not playing. I have been playing soccer my entire life and I love it so not playing for an entire year was hard. But, I found some ways to keep playing safely and continue to get better. It was challenging and tough to be motivated to work on my own with no games in sight. As this season approaches, I am hoping all the work this past year will pay off.
6. What were you able to do in terms of soccer at UMBC this fall?
This fall at UMBC our regular season got canceled. We were still able to practice 5 times a week and go in the weight room. Again, it was hard not playing any games, but I am thankful we were allowed to practice as a team and prepare for the Spring.
7. What do you see as the major difference so far between club soccer and college soccer?
The major difference between club soccer and college soccer is the intensity and physicality. Every practice and every game is more intense than ever. It is something I expected coming in, but still took me by surprise when I first played. It is a much more physically demanding game and is something everyone will have to get used to.
8. Do you have any advice for any Celtic players as they continue in club soccer and look towards finding the right college fit?
My advice for the Celtic players looking to play in college is, keep your options open. Firstly, keeping your options open means being patient with your decision. Allow yourself to look at all options thoroughly and make the right decision for you. It also means being respectful to all coaches who contact you. When coaches reach out, always respond, even if you aren’t interested. A coach can be hired at a school you are interested in or they simply have connections to other programs in college soccer. Being nice and respectful can go a long way in the recruitment process.