By: Michelle Mockler
With Jonathan Bornstein’s quick precision, undeniable versatility as well as devotion to the game he has established a strong domestic and international career. With individual accomplishments including being named MLS Rookie of the year:2006 and MLS Best XI: 2007. Recently returned from the 2010 FIFA World Cup he once again joins Chivas USA on the field in hopes of finishing the season strong. With the accomplishments he has made thus far and what he has shown us in the World Cup, its is proven this is only the beginning of what is yet to come from Jonathan Bornstein.
Growing up locally in California, how and when did soccer become a part of your life?
I think I was three years old when I actually started playing. My dad was a coach for my older brothers team, who was five at the time. He asked the league if his younger son could play along side of them and they said yes as long as he could keep up and everything. That’s when I started playing. My dad basically was the one that got me into it.
Throughout your NCAA career you played for CSU Pomona and UCLA. What was it like transitioning from CSU Pomona to UCLA, an upper Division I school?
I think more than anything just the level of physicality and the speed of play was a little bit different and a little bit faster. It was a matter of just adjusting to play well in the games that I played with the D1 school. Also, there was a little bit more exposure and it was a little bit bigger in terms of media coverage that I got for UCLA instead of Cal Poly Pomona.
We’ve seen you play halfback and fullback for UCLA, left fullback for Chivas as well as other positions in which you excelled. On-field it’s obvious that you’re a very versatile player. How has this versatility helped you to get ahead in your career?
I think more than anything it has allowed me to get on the field. As a rookie I did come out of UCLA as a forward/midfielder. Chivas pretty much had guys in both those spots and all around the field on the right and the left side. So left fullback was the only open position. Bob Bradley saw that I had some capabilities as a left fullback even though I had never really played it before. So it has allowed me to get on the field. Everything has kind of happened just because of that versatility and ability to get put wherever.
Throughout you’re domestic and international career you have had many shining moments. Recently, you took part in the ongoing 2010 FIFA World Cup, this being your first World Cup. In your qualifying match against Costa Rica you scored a 95th minute goal, which eliminated Costa Rica from the World Cup qualifications. Some would say that this one of many defining moments in your career thus far. Do you agree?
Yeah, I would defiantly agree to score one of the goals in any qualifying match is pretty special. The fact that it could have such a great impact on one country, being Honduras and another country eliminating them, Costa Rica, is pretty unbelievable and it’s something that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.
It is said, that it was a childhood dream of yours to start in a World Cup game for the U.S. How does it feel to have that childhood dream fulfilled?
It feels great. Obviously I have set that dream since I was a little kid and now that it is accomplished I can set bigger goals and bigger dreams from here on out. It was great to play in the World Cup. Every soccer player I think dreams of playing in the World Cup and the fact that I was able to do it and that we did pretty well in this World Cup was something to be proud of.
What was your most memorable World Cup moment?
For me it was for walking out of the tunnel and lining up for the National Anthem for the Algeria game. That was going to be my first start. I put my hand over my heart when the national anthem started and I could literally hear the entire stadium singing the national anthem. I felt like I should sing along and I did. It was a pretty special moment for me.
Last week you returned to Los Angeles from Johannesburg, South Africa. What contributed to your decision to make an early return home?
Well Chivas, our season is in the middle of going on. We had a game on the weekend. I wanted to come back and show that I didn’t let the world cup get to me. I was ready to just continue my goals and my dreams and continue playing well for Chivas. I had training Thursday and Friday and a game on Saturday so I needed to return home to join back with the team.
With the 2010 FIFA World Cup concluded for the U.S., how do you settle back into life as a Chivas USA defender?
Actually right now as we speak I’m cleaning up my entire house. My brother stayed here while I was gone. So I’m just trying to get things all sorted and go through mail. You know the little things that get life going and back to normal. A normal everyday kind of a routine. So just those kind of things and then most of all, going in everyday and training hard with Chivas and preparing for the matches on the weekends. We have a pretty busy schedule coming up so it’s going to take every player.
With the win against Austin Aztex FC last Tuesday, in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, do you think that it’s possible for Chivas to use that same mentality to acquire wins in MLS games?
Yeah I definitely think so. We hadn’t won a game before that Austin Aztex game in, I think 8 games, so we needed a little bit of a boost. I think that game gave us a little bit more of a positive outlook on things. We had that tie against Philadelphia where we didn’t get the win but then we go to Houston and have a good result. We went 3-1 and I think it’s the first time we ever won there. So it was a good turn around and hopefully we can continue the momentum of going forward to Kansas City and then onto Super League.
What are your hopes for Chivas USA for the rest of the season?
More than anything just to start winning games. I think we have to take it one game at a time. If we can accumulate some points I think we still have a chance of making the playoffs. I mean, there’s sixteen games left so within those sixteen games if you were to win all of them you’d have a lot of points and be a contender for playoffs. It’s not the supporter shield. It’s just a matter of winning games and going on a little streak. I think its possible for us to do that.
You support an organization called One Shot One Dream, can you tell our readers a little about this organization and how you came to be involved with it?
Basically One Shot One Dream is a group that my old high school coach had told me about and filled me in on. There’s tryouts around the country for kids that have the dream of going pro to have the opportunity to be seen by coaches that are going to ultimately take a team overseas to play against some quality sides in Europe. Some of those kids can get contracts in Europe and have gotten contracts in Europe before. It is basically another opportunity for kids, who want to go pro at a young age, to be seen. I think it’s a good opportunity for them.
What teams do you enjoy watching? What players do you make sure to keep an eye out for?
I’ve been actually keeping an eye out on almost all the teams especially while we were there [World Cup] just because you never knew who you were going to play coming out of a group. But more recently I was keeping a close eye on Spain just because after playing them in the Confederations Cup, I knew the quality of players they had and seeing that they would go pretty far in this World Cup. It has been pretty exciting to watch them play. Specific players on there team are Xavi in the middle just controlling the ball and kind of being the playmaker for their team and then Villa scoring a lot of goals. The game today was pretty exciting. You can see Puyol get up on that corner kick. Overall just watching the World Cup and enjoying it on a general note.
Photo: Credit to Juan Miranda/Chivas USA