Player Profile: Geoff Matthes
1. Geoff, you promised to bring me Chegg (Chicken or the Egg) from LBI approximately 6 months ago. Where is my food?
Really your first Chegg experience should not be take-out that takes 2 hours to get to you but I’ll bring some to a practice this Spring. I just want you to experience it in all its glory, so you may have to visit.
2. How many years have you played rugby?
This is my 5th year playing.
3. What other Clubs have you played for?
I played for Vassar College for two years, University of Nottingham for a year, and now two years with Schuylkill River.
4. We’ve previously stated that John “Cat Stevens” Vizzachero is the best dressed man in American rugby. Would you like to advocate on behalf of former menswear blogger Tom Weishaupt for that distinction?
Look as much as I love Tom, and he is an incredibly fashionable man, Cat is the best dressed man not just in American rugby but probably in America outright. I think it is because it’s just harder to find fashionable clothes in Tom’s size so Cat gets the advantage in selection, but really there is no doubt that Cat is and always will be a fashion icon.
5. Who doesn’t know how to spell their name correctly, Jeff Hall or Geoff Matthes?
According to Wikipedia the name Geoffrey is derived from Godfrey, meaning God of Peace. Jeffrey is derived from Geoffrey. In a sense we’re both wrong, but the important point is that he’s much more wrong than I am.
6. What is your proudest rugby moment in your career so far?
My proudest moment is being selected for the University of Nottingham’s Varsity squad at the end of my season in England. It’s an incredible honor and one that surprised myself and most of my teammates, so I feel proud that the coaches had the confidence to select me for the biggest game of the year.
7. What do you hope to accomplish in rugby going forward?
Rugby has been pretty much my biggest passion in life and in addition to playing I enjoy watching and talking about it too. I think at some point in my life I’d like to get involved in refereeing, coaching, and helping the game grow in the States, but for now I am just trying to have fun and play to the highest level I can.
8. You’re coming with us to South Africa in a couple of weeks. What are you most looking forward to on that trip?
I relish the opportunity to soak up different cultures and life experiences so as much as the rugby in South Africa excites me I’m most looking forward to all the great activities off the pitch that I’ll get to experience with my teammates. And Biltong. Definitely Biltong.
9. This isn’t your first international rugby experience, tell us about your time in England.
I was lucky enough to do a Masters program in Oncology at the University of Nottingham and got to play for their university team while there. In my first game there I started at loosehead for the 1st XV against Bath, and got absolutely rocked in the scrum by a 5’9’’ 18 year old. Needless to say, I spent most of the year being a solid 2nd XV starting prop and occasionally cracked into the 1st XV bench. I got to experience teammates that played professionally for Belgium, Scotland U20, Samurai 7’s, and in the Greene King IPA Championship, as well as coaches with years of international experience for England and Wales. It was a great source of information and growth in my understanding of the game.
10. My sources tell me that you used to be a drummer in a band, what was your band’s name and how terrible were you guys?
I played in a showcase with some guys while I was taking lessons but I was never good enough to be in a band. Mostly because all of my musician friends are incredibly gifted and I am really, really bad at drums. I play with enthusiasm not skill.
11. What made you decide to join Schuylkill River?
Well I was recruited by former player and coach Tom Weishaupt because we both went to Vassar College. He talked to me about the club during my senior year when he was at our alumni game. After doing a little research I realized that it was without a doubt the best club in area, so the hour and a half commute is worth it to play at the highest level I can.
12. Now that you’ve been around Philadelphia for a couple of years have you started using the word jawn at all or are we still building up to that?
I actually grew up right over the river in Marlton, New Jersey, so I’ve been familiar with jawn since high school. So much so that I’ve begun mispronouncing my father’s name, John, as Jawn.
13. Are there any official Geoff Matthes cheesesteak recommendations?
Not living in Philly really handicaps me in answering this question but I’ll always be partial to my first ever authentic cheesesteak at Jim’s Steaks.
14. What was your impression of Philadelphia rugby before you joined our Club and do you think that impression has changed at all since you’ve been with us?
My impression of not just rugby but all Philadelphia sports was gritty and hard-nosed. It’s about being angrier than your opponent, working harder, grinding them down. You’d think that would be accentuated in rugby but personally I haven’t felt that way about my experience with Schuylkill. Yes, this team works incredibly hard, but there’s a lot of intelligence and finesse in the way we play against our opponents. I think we’ve got the best of both worlds here.
15. What is on your pre-match playlist?
Lots of pop-punk. Mostly The Wonder Years, A Day to Remember, The Story So Far, and always ending with Four Year Strong – Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die.
16. As a second row/prop you have to do a lot of the dirty work on the field. What sort of mentality do you take onto the pitch with you and what’s your goal heading into each match?
Most people that know me think I’m a teddy bear and that the aggression shown in rugby really does not fit my personality at all. But I view the sport as my outlet so I definitely love the dirty work. I honestly approach each game as if the opposing team is trying to kill me so I can rationalize hitting them harder as self-defense. As for my goal, it’s to make guys regret having to tackle me or being tackled by me.
17. Besides the trip to South Africa what are you most looking forward to this spring season?
After missing most of the fall through injury I really just want to get back on the pitch. Besides that, winning our league matches and making it to nationals would be great.
18. The fact that you can play two tight five positions gives us a lot of flexibility. Which position do you prefer and which do you think plays better to your skill set?
I had never played lock before getting to Schuylkill and I am absolutely loving it. If I worked on my scrummaging more I’m probably better suited for the prop life, simply because I’m not a lineout jumper and that’s absurd for a second row playing at a high level. I just wasn’t meant to leave the ground. It’s why my basketball career never took off.
19. Of all the guys coming with us to South Africa who are you most hoping to avoid having as a roommate?
I’m gonna go with Austin on this one. I’m not a big drinker and that dude knows how to party. I would not be able to keep up. Plus, he’s carrying an injury so he doesn’t have to worry about playing against the locals slowing down his drinking. I’m expecting him to carry a week-long buzz starting the moment we step foot on the plane.
20. You seem to really enjoy watching our second side play and being a strong supporter of our Club from top to bottom. What advantages have you seen in our structure which features two sides in league play and allows everyone to get meaningful minutes?
As I said before I really just enjoy watching rugby in general and it’s even better when you know the guys playing personally. I think the change this year that allows D2 to have the same schedule as D1 and keep our club together on game day is huge for building everyone’s comfort in the system and each other. It’s clearly worked because due to other commitments and injury we’ve missed some incredible players this season and yet a lot of D2 guys slotted right in and kept the quality up. It’s probably creating some selection headaches for the coaches but it’s great for the club as a whole and for guys to know they can play their way into the minutes.