Meet Liam Anderson
Milwaukee Men’s Soccer
Hometown: Auckland, New Zealand
High School: West Lake Boys High School
-Three-year starter in the box for the Westlake Boys High School soccer team.
-Named the ASB Auckland Schoolboy Player of the Year.
-Appeared in ASB Premiership Runners-up 2013, FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2012, FIFA U17 World Cup Mexico 2011 and ASB Charity Cup Champions 2011.
2013 Season Highlights
-Milwaukee is unbeaten through seven games for the first time since 1996 when the Panthers started 7-0-0.
-The Panthers are ranked No. 6 in the NSCAA Great Lakes Poll.
-First career start was a 2-1 season opening victory over No. 12 Marquette in front of a record crowd of 3,312 at Engelmann Stadium.
-The true freshman has played every minute in the box for the Panthers.
-Anderson ranks top 10 in the nation in goals against average and save percentage. He has allowed a measly three goals in seven starts, and his save percentage of .885 ranks 10th in all of Division I. You hail from Auckland, New Zealand, what drew you to UW-Milwaukee?
The fact that I could play at a high level of soccer and also get a University degree at the same time. It’s not really an opportunity you get in New Zealand so America was a big thing. I’d been to America before, but I’d never been to Milwaukee at all. I never visited the school so it’s been quite a new experience.
What’s the transition been like from New Zealand to the United States and from high school soccer to college soccer?
It’s been good so far; it’s a similar standard of fútbol. The biggest difference is the pitches I think six of our first seven games have been on field turf which is quite new to me. The pace has been the biggest thing. It’s a faster game, but you never have to worry about a bad pitch or if you can’t play fútbol on the pitch.
Describe your first game in the box as a Panther, facing No. 12 Marquette with the Milwaukee Cup on the line. It was really exciting, probably one of the best experiences I’ve had in soccer. The crowd was amazing and there was so much build up for the game, it was really good. After we won it was a little bit of a pitch invasion by the fans, it was a really cool experience. Since that Marquette game we’ve had very high expectations. Milwaukee hasn’t had a winning record since the 2005 season when the Panthers won the Horizon League Men’s Soccer Championships, later losing in penalty kicks to No. 1 New Mexico in the second-round of the NCAA Tournament. What’s it going to take for the Panthers to get back to that level?
Just keep doing what we’re doing at the moment. We pride ourselves on being a really hard team to play against and a hard team to score against. The chances we get I think we can keep winning those and keep doing what we’re doing. At the moment I think we’re at the right step.
Head Coach Kris Kelderman and Goalkeeper Coach Mark Litton both have a wealth of experience in soccer and have some very impressive playing and coaching resumes. What’s it been like to have those two guide you during your first year?
It’s been really good. I work a lot with Mark [Litton] and he knows what I’m talking about and he always has something I need to work on and how to improve my game. Kris [Kelderman] really helps me and the team tactically before matches. We’re always working hard to get better.
You beat out three other goalkeepers for the starting nod to begin the season and have allowed a mere three goals this season, good for a 0.41 goals against average which ranks eighth in the nation. Was this something you expected coming into the season?
Not really, I really didn’t know what it was going to be like once I got here, I just knew I was going to try the best I could. Then I got the starting spot which was great, only allowing three goals thus far is really good, so I just try to do the best I can and so far I’ve been playing well and getting clean sheets.
You plan on studying geography, what’s been your favorite class in your first semester of college?
My favorite class at the moment is The World-Peoples and Regions. It’s really interesting learning about other cultures such as Latin America and Europe and it’s a quite interesting class, that’s the one that’s stood out thus far.
You have quite a few teammates from Wisconsin, have they converted you into a Green Bay Packer fan yet?
I haven’t really watched that much football, I haven’t really had that much time to watch TV. A lot of people in my dorm watch and meet together for the Packer games. I think I might start watching them and see what it’s all about. Back home we get the Super Bowl every year and sometimes I watch that but other than that I’ve never seen American football.
What’s been your favorite American cuisine?
I love Qdoba, it’s amazing. I like their burritos and quesadillas. There aren’t a whole lot of differences in food from back home; we have a lot of McDonald’s, Subway’s and Burger King’s. It’s more of a variety of fast foods over here, but overall it’s very similar. The one thing I miss is mince cheese pies [New Zealand food tradition, prepared as a hamburger-like meat pie], they are amazing but aren’t found over here.
Once your career as a Panther student-athlete is over, where do you see yourself?
I want to pursue soccer as much as possible, I’d really like to go pro, and that’s the big thing for me. If I could play soccer as much as possible and play and make a living out of it that would be the perfect situation for me.