Sacred Heart Goalkeeper, Tucker Hackett, made five saves on Monday, Aug. 31 for his first shutout of the young season as his team tied Stony Brook. Tucker, a senior who has appeared in at least 12 games in net for Sacred Heart the past three years, was part of the first All-American Game in 2011. We had the opportunity to catch-up with him prior to the season starting.
Amplified Soccer: What year were you selected to play in the High School All-American game and what did that selection mean to you?
Tucker Hackett: I was selected to play in the first All-American Game in December of 2011. It meant I was suspended from 2 Academy games, but it was an honor to represent my high school, my club team, my family and all my coaches.
AS: What was the best part of the High School Soccer All-American game experience?
TH: The best part of the High School Soccer All-American game experience was getting to meet and play with the top High School players in the country.
AS: You are heading into your senior year at Sacred Heart University. What made the Pioneers program right for you?
TH: What made the Pioneer program right for me was the fact that it was great University and had a great coaching staff in a strong conference with a lot of potential to improve my game. SHU was also an excellent academic choice for me. It had the right “feel”, 10 minutes into my first tour. Academically, size and the opportunity to earn a starting spot as a freshman all contributed to my choice.
AS: What was the biggest difference between high school and college soccer, and how did you adapt?
TH: The biggest difference between high school and college soccer was the speed and physicality. Playing my first season I adapted by working many hours after training on crosses, speed, and distribution in order to allow myself to be ready for college level games.
AS: What is one piece of advice that you wish you would have received at a younger age?
TH: Once piece of advice that I wish that I had received when I was younger would be to cherish every moment you have playing, because before you know it your career is almost over.
AS: What was the best thing that you did from a training stand point as a youth player that helped you develop?
TH: The best thing that I did from a training stand point as a youth player that helped me develop was working with goalkeeper coaches and on my own every chance I got. The numerous coaches that helped me develop at a young age are countless and they taught me values that helped on and off the field.
AS: What would you have done differently as a youth/younger player?
TH: What I could have done differently as a youth/young player would be pay more attention to players older than me that have found great success. I wish that I had experienced more high level games at young age to view and learn from the best.
AS: The records show you are the only HS All American game participant to receive a red card. What happened!? Take us through that moment.
TH: The red card that I received in the 16th minute of the high school All-American game, after flying all the way down to Alabama I think is a moment that no one at the stadium will ever forget. I was given a pass back by one of the teammates, and I remember him hitting it with the outside of his foot so that it was spinning away from me and towards the opposing player coming forward. Having the player receive the ball a little ways in front of me with myself already about 10 yards out of the box left me in a very difficult situation that I know all goalkeepers dread. I had to either allow him to get around and score a certain goal, or stop the play at all cost. With the talent that the forwards had in the 2011 All-American game and about 30 yards of open space the player was able to get around and I knew at that moment my only option was to take him down in order to prevent a goal.
AS: What do you do to improve during the off-season?
TH: Every off season my goalkeeper coach and I focus on getting me in the best physical game shape as possible by try to play the most games possible. Each summer I have played on multiple teams from USL and PDL level to town and pick up in order to allow myself to get in the best physical game shape possible.
AS: What is your personally most memorable soccer moment?
TH: Making 14 saves in a game against UMBC last season at the Doubletree BWI Classic was pretty memorable and lead to my being named to the all-tournament team. But, personally my most memorable moment in soccer was being part of the first team in my high school’s history to win the conference championship. I was able to help set up the tying goal in the final 30 seconds of regulation which lead to my team winning on the golden goal in extra time. The feeling of winning the conference and receive tournament MVP is something that I will hold onto for the rest of my life and I hope that I will be able to follow it up with a conference championship for the Pioneers in my senior season.
AS: What do you most enjoy doing outside of soccer?
TH: What I enjoy doing most outside of soccer is spending time with my friends and family. Having a balance in your life is important in order to reach your full potential and to be happy.
AS: What are your goals for your upcoming fall season?
TH: My goal for the fall season at Sacred Heart is the same as all my teammates. To be able to reach the conference tournament and win it.
AS: What is your favorite warm up song?
TH: Eye of the Tiger is my favorite warm up song. My high school mascot is the Tiger so I have warmed up to Eye of the Tiger since a very young age.