This Southern California native played as a left-back for the University of Washington from 2014-2017.
Pro Soccer USA caught up with Justin Fiddes at the 2018 MLS Player Combine to talk about life in San Diego and playing college soccer in the Cascadia region.
Question: What was it like growing up in California, especially in San Diego where Liga MX side Club Tijuana has a large presence?
Answer: There’s a ton, I’ve played with a ton of guys that’ve gone on to play for the Xolos. It’s weird because a lot of them want to come back from playing for the Xolos, Adrian Zendejas of Sporting Kansas City, even Paul Arriola of DC United have come back from playing over there.
Q: How much of an impact did soccer have on you growing up?
A: Soccer down in San Diego is huge, there’s a ton of great players that have come from there. I think it was a great place for me to start out playing soccer and made me really love soccer.
Q: California is known to have a large Mexican soccer community, especially in San Diego, how was it playing with a diverse group of people?
A: The Latino kids were always very tactical, very quick and fast. It was great to play against those players, but once you get to the college game it shifts gears a little bit. You get taller and even faster kids, very different.
Q: Talk a little about your time playing college soccer at the University of Washington, what was the transition like?
A: I want to put on record that I loved playing at U-dub. My coaches were great, and my biggest takeaway from the college game was how much I developed myself over the four years. I still have ways to develop myself, and I look to take that into the pros and continue to get better. College is different… everyone is playing to win and not so much about development.
Q: You’re listed as a defender, but what was the first position you ever played?
A: I started out as a forward, but my second year playing academy soccer my team had two really good outside midfielders but we didn’t have a left back. I just went back and played left-back and it helped the team. I fit in well there, I’m able to go forward and get crosses but I can also defend and have the pace to get back.
Q: How much attention are you paying to the several mock drafts heading into Friday’s MLS SuperDraft?
A: I don’t want to pay attention to them at all. I mean, my mom will sometimes send me an article and I don’t want to look at them. I don’t even bother.
Q: What have you learned from the 2018 MLS Player Combine?
A: It’s been an awesome experience. It’s been interesting, but very competitive. At the same time, you have to play well as a team to show you can play well as an individual.