To say that I am very excited for today's interview release, is an understatement.
A couple of weeks ago, we had the opportunity to sit down with former FC Edmonton and now Atletico Ottawa box-to-box midfielder, Ajay Khabra.
You can follow Ajay Khabra on Instagram here.
Ajay Khabra has always been one of my favourites to watch in the CPL, starting when he played the inaugural season with the Eddies, so when he agreed to sit down and talk with us on the show, I was beyond thrilled.
Ajay Khabra Interview:
We had an amazing time with Ajay. Ajay, is an extremely friendly guy; he was all smiles, and so thoughtful about all of his answers to our questions.
As the interview got underway, I was really impressed with his attitude toward continuous improvement. He has an incredible commitment to working hard to be better for himself and for his team.
One of the stats that we read about Ajay prior to our interview is that he was at the top of the CPL for successful pressured passes, successful passes, and relief receptions. As a midfielder you can't get any better than this (see below) and you can see why with his attitude for constant improvement why he deserves that accolade.
Not only that but if you look at his player history you'll see he's also won several awards starting with his U14 National Championship with Edmonton Juventus, the University of Alberta Golden Bears MVP, and a USports award!
Ajay Khabra's Stats For FC Edmonton in CPL Year 1
During the hour-long interview we covered a lot of ground starting with his upbringing where his father was instrumental to helping him develop and thrive as a football player, to his close-knit family, what he thinks are the most important drills for a box-to-box midfielder, the concept of “neutral thinking” and so much more.
We also uncovered that he is a loyal Manchester United Fan and that he now follows Atletico Madrid more closely than he ever has before! 😁
We of course chatted about his new team Atletico Ottawa and what it means to him to be part of this historic team and how it feels to wear the red, white and blue jersey!
And before we get to the actual interview (which you can watch below) I have to say, that I absolutely LOVED that he told me prior to the interview that he DID NOT PEEK at the rapid fire questions to make it more fun!
The rapid fire portion of the interview is pretty lighthearted where we try to get to know a little more about what the player is like outside of soccer, and I thought it was great that he kept that portion of the interview a surprise for himself!
So sit back, relax and enjoy our interview with Ajay Khabra. Please note, the interview timestamp is clickable on YouTube.
Ajay Khabra Interview Timestamp
00:33:07 How did you fall in love with soccer?
00:01:08 Where did your father play?
00:02:40 Did your Dad start making you work on your weak foot at an early age?
00:04:52 When did you first think you could go pro?
00:05:45 What was it like to win the U14 National Championship with Edmonton Juventus?
00:06:36 Can you tell us about your time with the university of Alberta Golden Bears, and what was it like to win the Golden Bears MVP?
00:07:07 Have you always played as a midfielder?
00:07:44 What I noticed in your highlight reel was you were doing a lot of gesturing and trying to get everybody in the right position, kind of like a quarterback…Is that how you see yourself in the game?
00:08:42 In your highlight reel I thought you looked really smooth, do you think starting at an early age contributed to you being so smooth on the ball?
00:09:44 What is the most important charistic of a box to box midfielder?
00:11:09 Who do you admire and try to emulate as a box to box midfielder?
00:12:30 Since you are a Man U fan I want to ask you will Man U get Champions League Football this year?
00:14:52 What is your formation to play in as a midfielder?
00:16:23 I read an article that said you were, top of the CPL in successful pressured passes, successful passes, and relief receptions, moving the ball and moving into space. You called it “intellectual instinct” in football? How do you develop that?
00:17:45 What was it like to win a USports award?
00:19:18 When you moved into the CPL how was the adjustment?
00:20:25 Did you expect to play almost every game for FC Edmonton?
00:22:42 FC Edmonton underperformed last year, so what do you think the team was missing?
00:23:48 How close were you to re-signing with FC Edmonton?
00:25:00 How has the back to training been with your new team?
00:26:42 Mista has a very long history in soccer, what have you learned from him?
00:27:57 What is your favourite thing about Atletico Ottawa, or Ottawa?
00:29:12 What is your Favourite restaurant in Ottawa?
00:30:17 Do you follow a special diet?
00:31:26 Your 3 favourite healthy foods?
00:32:32 What is your favourite drill to do as a box to box midfielder?
00:34:58 When did you start playing with your head up?
00:37:26 Feature your top 3 books neutral thinking – can you explain that concept.
00:41:18 Did you support a La Liga team before joining Atletico Ottawa?
00:42:20 Who is your favourite Atletico Madrid player currently? And who should they sign?
00:45:14 How is Atletico Ottawa going to line up with all their other teams?
00:46:06 When is training going to transition into games?
00:46:38 When did you start working on your chip passes?
00:47:46 So would you say that because you are a pro soccer player, you keep working on improving yourself?
00:48:48 Do you have any hobbies outside of soccer?
00:49:29 What is your favourite genre of books?
00:50:48 Is there a skill move you like to use when you are on the pitch?
00:51:44: Is there a skill move that you like to watch?
00:52:20 Ronaldo or Messi?
00:53:25 What is the best piece of advice a coach has given you?
00:55:06 What advice can you give to young players starting out?
00:55:57 What is your favourite soccer moment?
Jack’s Rapid Fire Questions
00:57:09 Do you play FIFA?
00:57:12 PS4 or Xbox?
00:57:14 What team do you support?
00:57:24 What is your favourite fruit?
00:57:34 What is your favourite vegetable?
00:58:11 Do you have a nickname?
00:58:33 What is one superpower you would like to have?
00:59:46 What is your favourite thing to cook?
01:00:12 What is your favourite movie?
01:01:32 What is your favourite board game?
01:02:14 What soccer boots do you wear?
01:02:30 What is one thing that people do not know about you that they would be surprised to know about you?
01:03:22 What are 3 words to define you?
01;04:18 Do you have siblings?
01:04:30 What are your goals for the future?
Jack is the CPL's youngest reporter. Check me out on CBC Sports:
Also, subscribe to my YouTube Channel, JackMurrayTV