Max Griffin

Tell me about your background; how you came into soccer and to Minnesota.

I’m one of 4 children; I have two brothers and a sister. We all played soccer growing up. I’m from Palmdale, CA. It’s about an hour, hour and half north of downtown LA. Like I said we’re a soccer family, growing up I got into it at about 5 years old. [He’s 25 now.] Eventually I went to play at UCLA – I loved it there. I played all 4 years there. And then after UCLA I played with Austin Aztex in 2010. And then from there, the team relocated to Orlando and I played two more years with Orlando City, and my contract expired with them. I heard that there was interest from this club and I jumped on the opportunity. I felt like it would be good for myself, so I came here and I’m very happy.

You used to play with your brother Leonard…

Yeah, that was my rookie year in Austin. We lived together and played together, so that was a lot of fun. We were real close. Growing up, the age difference was always too far apart so we never got to play with each other. It was a really good time. He played left defense and I played up top, so he would always send me good long balls because we worked well with each other because we knew how we play, obviously, so that was a good time. He was going to come when the team relocated to Orlando, but then he got a job offer for a coaching position, so he decided to retire and take that, so he’s loving that.

 I also read that you played with the San Jose Earthquakes for a while. Tell me a little about that.

That was after my second season professionally so first season with Orlando, after that season, I went on loan with San Jose and that was really fun. I went to preseason with them prior to that Orlando season, but couldn’t work out any kind of deal so I kind of waited, played through the Orlando season and finished up with San Jose. It was fun to be back in California and up north because at the time my brother was living in Oakland, so he was only maybe a half hour drive away from me. It was fun. I got in maybe 4 or 5 games; played in some pretty big games. I got to play against Portland in Portland and then at Seattle, which was Kasey Keller’s going away game, so there was a good 67,000 at the game. It was nuts. It was fun. It was a good experience. I hope to be back at that level at some point.

You’ve had some injuries in the past.

I’ve been telling people that I always took for granted making it through a whole practice without any injuries, but I guess the older I get the more I realize that I have to be really warmed up before I go out there and play. [Now I’m] doing some extra maintenance stuff, to make sure I don’t re-injure anything.

A few of his teammates walked by heckling him along the way.] What else do you want us to know about you or your teammates now that they’re not listening?

[laughs] Everyone just calls me Max, my full name’s Maxwell, I prefer either one. I have a few hobbies that some of the guys know about. I play piano, and I also play ukulele as well, which is kind of random. I enjoy playing those a lot and that’s what I use to kill my time sometimes.

It’s good to have that balance of creativity. How did you pick up ukulele?

This is the story: my ex-girlfriend was a hula/Tahitian dancer, so I would hear the music she was dancing and was like, ‘ah, the ukulele sounds pretty cool,’ so I picked it up and got into it from there.

I have a lot of respect for the instrument.

Yeah, it’s fun; it looks a little silly, [laughs] but it sounds really cool.

I had a chance to watch a video by Jojo, Too Little Too Late, and saw an example of your acting experience… What can you tell me about that? Were you on the white team or the blue?

I was on the blue, but to be honest I was just… you can’t even tell I’m in there, I’m just a background extra in the video. But it was fun; the casting crew came out to one of our practices and told us what the deal was, and then they cast each one of us in the video. And it was a good time, something that was different for sure and we had a good time with. And we obviously got to meet JoJo and just have a great time out there.

It was a lot of fun. It was a long day. I never thought how long that would last, and it was over a couple of days, too.  We were just out there all day.

Did it take a long time to get the game shots?

Oh my goodness yeah, we literally had to do play after play the same exact play for hours until they got the right shot. It was a lot of work for a 2-3 minute video.

Have you done any other acting, since Wikipedia lists you as an actor?

[Laughs] No, that’s the only thing I’ve done. I can’t believe, I don’t even know who put that on there.

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