By GEORGE ALBANO
Hour Staff Writer
Growing up, Tyler Dalton found playing baseball was too boring for him so he switched to soccer. The Norwalk High School boys soccer program is glad he did.
Dalton has been the Bears’ starting goalie the last three seasons as well as a two-year captain. He was even a part of the varsity squad at the end of his freshman season, dressing and on the sidelines during Norwalk’s postseason run to the 2012 Class LL state championship. Now fast forward to 2015 and Dalton recorded his second shutout of the season last week in a 2-0 win over New Canaan. The week ended with him and his NHS teammates travelling up to Storrs by bus on Saturday for their annual trip to a UConn men’s soccer game. “It was awesome,” he said. “Every year we have fun.” Although he was a little tired the next morning after a long day, Tyler Dalton was up in time to go “On The Record” with The Hour’s Associate Sports Editor George Albano.
The Dalton File
Family: Susan and Chris; Brother Trevor (15), a sophomore at NHS who is also a goalie for Beachside Soccer Academy.
Sports/Activities: Soccer at Norwalk High and for the Norwalk Travel Team, also coached by NHS head coach Chris Laughton; Activities include the National Honor Society; Works part-time at Starbucks.
Future Goals: “I want to be a physical therapist.” College choice: “Probably between the University of Delaware and the University of Miami. I’m not a fan of winter.” Playing soccer: “Maybe club soccer.”
The Hour: How and when did you start playing soccer?
Tyler Dalton: I started when I was 11 years-old with an NJSA rec team. I started off playing baseball, I think in right field, but after my first season me and my mom had a discussion and I told her I hated baseball. There was too much standing around and I wanted to play a sport where I could run around. A couple of my friends played soccer and I wanted to do what my friends did so I resorted to soccer. It’s kind of ironic because goalies do a lot of standing around.
TH: Were you always a goalie?
TD: I started off as a field player, but our goalie kept getting injured or had a commitment to play baseball. I kept asking my coach, ‘Please let me play goalie, please let me play goalie.” But he kept saying no, that he needed me to play up. Finally he gave me a chance to play goalie and I guess I was pretty good and he kept me there.
TH: What would you say has been your biggest save for Norwalk High so far?
TD: It was against Darien last year in the FCIAC playoffs and in overtime when they had a free kick just outside the box. They made a perfect shot that I managed to save. It was the only upper 90 save (where the crossbar and goalpost meet) I had to make the entire season. We ended up winning on PKs (penalty kicks).
TH: Who’s your favorite soccer player?
TD: Tim Howard (the goalie on the U.S. men’s national team). It used to be Iker Casillas, the goalie on the Spanish national team, but after the World Cup it was Tim Howard. He has such an amazing story. It inspires a lot of young people to play at the next level.
TH: How about your favorite player on the Norwalk High girls soccer team?
TD: Probably Hannah Froelich.
TH: If you had a chance to speak to the Pope during his recent visit here, what would you have said to him?
TD: I would have just said thank you for inspiring everyone and for taking the time to talk to everyone. He’s such an inspiring person so I would just thank you for inspiring so many people.
TH: Do you have any superstitions or rituals in soccer?
TD: I have a few. Before every game I give a handshake to my four defenders. They’re the ones who get the job done. And I always make sure the goal posts are perfect with the end line.
TH: What was your most embarrassing moment in a soccer game?
TD: I remember one game I was running backwards as the other team was coming at me full force and I tripped on my shoelaces. I got up in time and they didn’t score, but everyone was laughing. It’s hard to say anything back to counter that.
TH: What’s a talent do you wish you had that you don’t?
TD: I wish I was a really good pianist. I used to be really into music and played four or five instruments. I wished I stayed with it more than I did. Soccer is fun, but music is a lifelong thing.
TH: When you’re working at Starbucks, what’s your least favorite coffee to make?
TD: My least favorite coffee to make is also my favorite one to drink. It’s called a ‘Flat White’ which is real artsy, but if you do it right it looks great.
TH: What’s your favorite meal?
TD: A mahi-mahi burrito. I was born in California and moved to Connecticut when I was three. But we would always make an annual trip back there to visit my grandparents and whenever we were there we’d go to this place called ‘Dos Coyotes’ where they make pretty good food. That’s where I had the mahi-mahi burrito. It was not only really, really good, but it grew on me.
TH: How about your favorite pizza topping?
TD: I like bacon and mushrooms.
TH: Do you have a favorite quote or saying?
TD: My favorite quote is ‘Pain is temporary. Pride is forever.’
TH: Who’s been your biggest soccer influence?
TD: My dad. He played in high school, which I didn’t even know for a while. Apparently he was pretty good.
TH: What TV show can you absolutely not miss?
TD: My favorite TV show to this day is ‘SpongeBob SquarePants.’
TH: Do you think the U.S. men’s national team will win the World Cup in your lifetime?
TD: In my lifetime, yes, but not for a little while. I think the European teams are still at another level.
TH: Name one thing, anything, you can do better than U.S. goalie Tim Howard?
TD: The one thing I can do better than Tim Howard is I can get a better haircut than him.