New York Red Bulls II goalkeeper Wallis Lapsley was selected No. 36 overall in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft by the New York Red Bulls. He was named the 2019 Big West Conference Goalkeeper of the Year and signed with NYRB II on March 3.
Learn more about Wallis Lapsley below:
Q. What has been the best moment of your soccer career so far?
Lapsley: Winning the 2019 Big West Conference Tournament. It was the first time that my school (UC Davis) had ever won so it was a really special moment. It was also great because my Dad was able to be at the game and watch us win.
Q. How did it feel to sign your first professional contract?
Lapsley: It was an awesome experience. Being a professional athlete has been a dream of mine ever since I was a little kid, so to have a chance to realize that dream will be something I will never forget.
Q. You have had your first preseason, what is some advice the older guys have given you
Lapsley: The best advice I have received is to not be afraid of making mistakes. I pride myself on holding myself to a really high standard in training and being as close to perfect as I can, so I try to avoid making mistakes. The advice that I got was that often-making mistakes is indicative of pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and trying new things, and that that can sometimes be the best way to get better. Obviously mistakes due to a lack of focus or concentration I want to continue to avoid, but I am trying to do my best to try new things in training and push myself, even if that means making a few mistakes.
Q. What is your favorite pre-game music?
Lapsley: I like to get the juices flowing pre-game, so anything up-tempo or fast paced usually does the trick.
Q. What do you like to do when you’re not training or playing soccer?
Lapsley: I am a big reader. I am trying to read 52 books this year (one a week), so I try and read at least an hour a day. I also like to fish and play the mandolin.
Q. Was there a player that you grew up admiring when you were younger?
Lapsley: Kasey Keller was always a goalkeeper I looked up to. We are both from the Pacific Northwest. When he came back to play for the Sounders, I was just starting to watch soccer, so I ended up watching him a lot and becoming a big fan.
Q. What is your favorite movie of all time?
Lapsley: Nacho Libre. My college roommates and I would watch it all the time. I can almost quote it word for word while watching it. Anaconda Squeeze!
Q. Who is your favorite club to support?
Lapsley: My favorite club to support is Arsenal. Many years ago, my family and I had the chance to visit England, specifically North London, where my dad lived for a few years growing up. While we were there we went on a tour of the Emirates, Arsenal’s Stadium, and I have been a fan ever since.
Q: You received your first start the other week against Tampa, what was the experience like?
Lapsley: Even though I was very disappointed not to keep a clean sheet and get three points it was still an awesome experience. There was a moment during the national anthem where I was like ‘Whoa this is pretty awesome; I am playing professional soccer.’ Once the game got going, I wasn’t focused on anything else, but enjoying it and helping our team be successful.
Q: What would your advice be for a young goalkeeper aspiring to be a professional?
Lapsley: Listen to your coaches and try to get as many different opinions on goalkeeping as you can. There are a lot of way to be successful playing the position, so it is all about finding the right style for you. Also, I think it is really important to watch a lot of soccer particularly at level you aspire to play at. Whether that is college, MLS, or elsewhere, watch the goalkeepers there and see if you can pick out things that they do that might help your game.
Q. What are your goals for your first professional season?
Lapsley: I want to improve as much as I can while helping the club to be as successful as possible. Whether that means playing in matches for Red Bull II or training with the first team or a combination of the two, I’ll do whatever is asked of me to the best of my abilities. I feel very fortunate to be around three great goalkeepers like Ryan, Kendall, and David, so I want to learn as much as I can from those guys.
Q: If there was a 3v3 tournament, who would be your two picks for your team from the club?
Lapsley: First I would say Roy Boateng, we played together in college and he actually hosted me on my official visit, so I have to stay loyal to him, and for the other I would have to say Kaku, because we could communicate in Spanish and most of the rest of team wouldn’t be able to understand us (Y para el otro tendría que decir Kaku, porque podríamos comunicar en Español y la mayoría del equipo no nos podría entender.)