Full Name: Evan Bush
Date of Birth: March 6, 1986
Place of Birth: Willowick, Ohio
Current Club: Montreal Impact
How old were you when you first started playing football and did you always want to be a goalkeeper?
I was 4. Didn’t want to necessarily be a keeper from the start. I was a striker and midfielder until I was about 11 or 12. Once I figured I didn’t like running and I was pretty good at GK I decided to stick with that!
Where and when did you get your big break?
When I was in high school I played for a club team in the area. I knew I would play college soccer but didn’t know at what level. Fortunately, my club coach was friends with the college coach at the University of Akron. They took a chance on me and after being a backup the first season I was able to start for 4 straight years after that. That ultimately led me into a professional career.
Did you face any obstacles along the way, ever think you weren’t going to make it to where you are now and if so how did you get past the obstacles?
I faced many obstacles. As a GK you face many more challenges than any other position on the field because only one guy can play at a time. After my college career I had to prove myself on the pro level all over, and for me that meant starting in the second division and getting as many games as I could at that point in time. I didn’t see the sense in being in MLS as a third string keeper or even a number 2 until I had experienced games at the pro level. Ultimately, it worked out and I am now a starter in the top division.
Who was your biggest influence growing up?
Peter Schmeichel and Gigi Buffon
How do you prepare for a big game?
Mentally and physically throughout the week is when I prepare myself. I try to get most of my heavy work in early in the week so I can recover physically by the weekend. As the week winds down I focus more on the mental aspect of the game and try to focus all my attention on the details that will get me ready. Game days are very relaxed for me and all my attention goes to being fully calm and comfortable by kickoff.
Any tips on warm-ups?
Don’t kill yourself in the warmup. Like I said above, the heavy work should be done already. Warmups are about getting your body and mind on the same page and feeling confident going into the game.
Are you superstitious or do you have any pre-game rituals?
I have many rituals that I do but I don’t know if its superstition. It’s more about getting a comfort level and knowing what my mind and body need to be ready. I’m not sacrificing any live chicken in the locker room or anything!
What techniques do you employ to keep focused for the full 90 minutes?
Every 15 minutes of the game I do a couple knee to chest jumps and quick side to side movements to keep my body fresh, but also to keep my mind into it. If I feel I’m not completely focused than I focus on watching only the ball go from player to player. The more intent you can put on the ball the more focused you can get…without negating communication and seeing runners.
What goalkeeper gloves do you wear and how important is the right goalkeeper glove to you?
Aviata gloves. The right glove is vastly important. I have changed a little bit this year on the cut I wear. I used to wear a rolled finger glove. This year I have a hybrid of roll finger and negative cut. So far I like the feel and I think Aviata are a top brand in the industry.
What are the main features you look for in a goalkeeper glove?
The foam on the glove has to be good quality and feel. As a pro, I can use new gloves almost every other game because I get a good supply amount, so I don’t have to worry so much about durability anymore.
Since you’ve started playing what is the most important bit of advice you’ve been given and by whom?
I have been surrounded by some great people in the game and some people that don’t make it. The ones who make it are the ones who put the work in to continue to get better. No matter what level you are at, you can always get to the next level, and that only comes through the work you put in every day. In the pro game, if you make a 1% progression from year to year that is a big improvement. Matt Jordan, who is now at Houston, would have conversations with me a lot about these types of things.
What’s been your biggest career highlight(s) so far?
I am in the middle of it actually. We are currently in the semi final of Champions League for Concacaf. In the quarter final round we were down 3-2 on aggregate in the 93rd minute of the second leg and scored to go through on away goals. In the first leg of the semi final we won 2-0 at home and travel away to Costa Rica for the second leg.
Who is/has been your toughest opponent and do you prepare differently to face them? (Team and player)?
Thierry Henry. You have to prepare differently for what he brings (or brought). Unfortunately, when I faced him I had a poor game and he scored twice on me. He was the only guy I have ever been somewhat star struck by and it cost me. It helped me learn though and become a better player.
Any advice you could give to young goalkeepers trying to break through?
The road is long and difficult because it is such a specialized position. Not many breakthrough until mid to late 20s, but don’t lose focus of what your goals are and stay the course.
Away from the football pitch and training ground what do you enjoy doing?
Spending time with my family. As of now we are a family of 3 (my wife, Colleen and daughter, Isabella) but we are expecting to grow come August to a family of 4! Other than that, I enjoy following Cleveland sports and talking to my family/friends back home.
What football club do you support?
Where do you see Montreal Impact finishing this year and did you have any pre-season aims as a club and individual for where you want to finish?
I see us being a playoff team this year. We made a lot of changes to our team and we are much stronger than we were last year. In preseason we had goals to get to the playoffs and advance in Champions League. So far, we have already advanced and now we look to keep going in that tournament. Personally, I set goals that are more day to day as oppose to statistical. For example, I focus on my diet, sleep, and training sessions on a daily basis. To focus on stats is hard, because as a GK we have a lot of other variables that go into our successes and failures that we may not be able to control.
The MSL and ‘Soccer’ in America seems to keep growing and growing, how much do you notice the changes from inside the game?
Changes are dramatic and its growing at a rapid pace. The MLS is adding new teams almost every season it seems now and the teams are paying expansion fees around $100 million now. The money being invested in the game and the academies now is night and day from what it was when I was growing up. That is a huge positive for US soccer and Canadian soccer.
Do you think Soccer will ever get to the same levels as traditional American sports i.e. Baseball and Basketball?
I think soccer can take over baseball in popularity, especially among the kids of this generation. Baseball is losing a lot of youth players to soccer and the game is long and difficult to watch sometimes because of the length and pace. I don’t know if I see it overtaking football or basketball though. Those sports have been marketed fantastic in the States and it still has the most loyal fans to those sports for the time being.