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Boston Breakers Preseason Interview Series: Nkem Ezurike

Canadian striker Nkem Ezurike talks about the Breakers' plans for scoring, her own style of play, her thoughts on the World Cup, and puts serious thought into the zombie apocalypse.

Nkem Ezurike battles Jasmin Corniel during Breakers preseason
Nkem Ezurike battles Jasmin Corniel during Breakers preseason
Stephanie Yang

Q: Congratulations on scoring against Jamaica in Florida. Can you walk us through the goal?

Ezurike: I think it was a cross from Jas [Jasmin Corniel] and it came in and I knew it was kind of coming towards the keeper so I kind of like, tried to shield it, and turned, and shot. Pretty straightforward.

Q: You've been rotating through that striker position with Morgan Marlborough and Steph McCaffrey and it seems like Durkin still wants you at the tip of the spear like how he used you last season. So are you thinking he'll only want one of you at a time or are you looking for strike partners?

Ezurike: To be honest I'm not sure. I mean, both of them are great strikers. We do a good job and we're still trying to figure out who the pairings and stuff like that are going to be eventually. We still have more time and the rest of preseason to figure that out.

Q: You're a pretty crafty player, I think.

[Ezurike laughs]

Q: I mean, some people, not me, might underrate that part of your game. I saw a goal you scored for Michigan against U Mass a while ago. You judged the ball coming in, you saw it was going to give you a good bounce, and you just spun the defender, you went to goal, and you placed it. Do you consider yourself a big target striker or more of a find her feet and go player?

Ezurike: I'd say both. I'd like to be both. I definitely am played more as a target player just because of my size and whatnot, but I kind of like to incorporate the other side of the game.

Q: I saw you placing a couple of balls really nicely today in the net. Is that something you're working on? Do you think maybe that was influenced possibly by another striker in Canada who's known for placing balls well?

Ezurike: You know any striker, they want to score goals and that's just part of it. You know, placing the ball you have to try to do different techniques.

Q: Obviously, you're 5'11", so do you think your height is going to come into play on set pieces this season a little more? Is Durkin working on that with you and Marlborough at all?

Ezurike: This year we have a lot of height on this team. I mean, Amy [Barczuk] coming in, Morgan, we have Rachel [Wood]. We have a lot of height on this team so there's enough height to go around on set pieces.

Q: You were an econ and international studies major at Michigan. The other econ major playing for Canada is Diana Matheson. You guys ever compare notes?

Ezurike: [laughing] No I think Diana would probably be a little ahead of me in that department.

Q: Why is that?

Ezurike: She's smart, man.

Q: Most of your teammates are American. You think it's going to be tough this summer or are you just going to throw it out there, Canadian pride all the way?

Ezurike: Oh for sure. It doesn't matter. I'm gonna throw it out, rub it in their face.

Q: So Ezurike versus everybody.

Ezurike: Yeah, Canada versus everybody.

Q: I also saw you were at an event at the Royal Canadian Mint to unveil some special coins with Josée Bélanger. I know you've been in preseason, but does it feel like Canada's really getting behind the team? The whole country kind of went a little bit gaga for the team after the Olympics, so does it feel like that's coming back again?

Ezurike: I mean, definitely. We're so close - what is it, 70 days now or something like that? I think right now it's just like everyone's kind of getting the momentum going and just like that event there, having that event and being there was just putting it more in perspective that it's really getting down to it and it's gonna come up pretty quick.

Q: Have you spoken with Coach Herdman about some targets you need to achieve or a development plan to work towards for the Olympic roster?

Ezurike: Yeah. I mean, being here in this environment here with Boston is going to be good for me. You know, training with high quality players. So I think just working out here, improving my game, will help that.

Q: You know it's been coming. It's a zombie apocalypse. Who's the first to go and who leads the team to safety?

Ezurike: First to go? Maybe it would be Jami [Kranich].

[Note: GK Jami Kranich was sitting within earshot during this interview]

Q:  You have to qualify these things.

Ezurike: Oh god. I had time and I'm still thinking about this. I would say maybe it could be Rafi [Rafinha]. Yeah. She could be the first one to go. And what was the other one?

Q: Who leads the group to safety.

Ezurike: I think it would be a group. Maybe Shep [Katie Schoepfer] and Jules [Julie King] combining. Tac force. I think they could be able to do it.