Jimmy Sliwa - Defender, University of Great Falls Argos
A former MSC and Wasilla High standout, Jimmy Sliwa has successfully made the transition to college soccer, recently having completed his freshman season at the University of Great Falls (MT), an NAIA school.
A midfielder and forward for his Alaska club and high school teams, Sliwa (#5 at right) was noted for his versatility, which he had to put to use again on the college stage, as he’s started as a defender for the Argos, playing in 17 matches his freshman year. Still, the attacking vision and deft touch remain handy, as Sliwa notched one assist during his inaugural campaign.
Great Falls finished the season with an 8-8-1 record.
Below, Jimmy answers questions from current MSC players.
What do you like best about college soccer?
My favorite thing about college soccer is the competition. I really enjoy traveling to different states and different universities to give them the best game I can.
What is the biggest difference you’ve noticed between playing in college as compared to high school and club soccer?
College is more competitive and there are very few weak players. Speed, strength, and fundamentals are very important in college
How have you adapted to being a defender as a college player?
At first it was difficult, but the coach worked with me to make sure that I mastered the position. I had good size and endurance and fit the role pretty well.
Is that position just a freshman thing, or do you think your future as a player is in the back four?
I think that I was put into the position because the coach needed someone to play the spot, but there is no telling if I will stay in the spot or be moved around.
What do your teammates think about Alaskan soccer? Were they surprised to find out you could play?
Most of my teammates never expected to be playing with an Alaskan. The first week of practice everyone called me “Alaska.” I know that I earned respect from my teammates as they learned that I could play.
Knowing what you know now, if you could go back to being a ten-year-old just starting out in club soccer again, what would you work on?
I would definitely work on first touch, and playing as quickly as I could. The higher level of play moves quicker and those that can pass and think quickly will do very well.
A lot of the young players with MSC now hope to have a shot to play collegiately—what would you tell them?
Go for it!
What’s your favorite memory from club soccer?
Taking second place at the USA Cup. It was my first out-of-state experience and with some hard work and maybe some luck, my team made it to the championship game.
What’s your favorite moment from your freshman year at UGF?
My favorite memory playing at UGF was our game against Westminster University. It was the last regular season game and a win would secure a trip to the playoffs. The game went into overtime but we scored before it went to penalties
What’s next for you?
I am not sure yet. I have had the opportunity to possibly play for a PDL team in Louisiana, but I still have a lot to improve on.