Veteran defender Greg Janicki is the fourth installment in our 2016 Indy Eleven player profile series.
NUVO: You were apart of the best defensive season in NASL history in 2014, what do the Eleven need to do to get to that level this season?
Greg Janicki: That year we were a group of guys, front and back, but especially the back line but we all got along and communicated — we wanted to get the job done. We talked through everything. Every problem we had we talked through it and a solution. On the field, after practice, whatever. I think we have a lot of this year where guys…they’re pros, they’ve been though it before. We are able to communicate and be one the same page. And defensively that’s the biggest thing. It doesn’t take the talent in the world to defend well and to have a a good goals against record. Obviously it takes good players but it takes communication. The Eleven brought in players with Lovel [Palmer], and [Nemanja] Vukotic, and Colin [Falvey]. Those guys are veterans and they’re great players but I think the best part about it has been our ability to sort through things on the field. I think we’ve been fairly organized so far. We’d like to have a couple more shutouts, seems like we have one mistake. one breakdown a game that we need to get rid of. But there’s a lot of similarities between that team and this team with a lot of good leaders and communicators.
NUVO: You’ve played with Coach Hankinson in the past and you’re reunited with him this season. What is something about him that the fans might not know?
Janicki: He’s a really nice guy off the field. He’s a lot more laid back than he presents himself at training. Really personable guy, really easy to talk to. On the field — with his demeanor sometimes — you might not think that.
NUVO: You’ve lived in Indianapolis for over a year now. What one thing would you tell incoming athletes about the city?
Janicki: Well we really like where we live out in the Fishers/Carmel area. It’s a really good place to raise a family. For where we’re at in out life right now it’s exactly what we need with all the parks and the events they have going on. The thing you have available to you — there’s always something going on.
NUVO: What is your go-to song to listen to in the locker room before a big match?
Janicki: Usually I’m the guy that defers the DJ duties to one of the younger guys as long as it’s not the new rap I’m usually cool with it. I’m listening to the old school — Dr Dre and 50 Cent — from back when I was in high school if they go that route. And usually something upbeat — house music or techno music — at some point. But it varies, depending on what the mood is I can listen to country and get pumped up. Depends on the day I suppose.
NUVO: What has been the biggest moment in your soccer career?
Janicki: Obviously winning the soccer bowl championship [with San Antonio] a few years ago was probably the highlight of my career so far team wise. That was probably my best season as a pro. In 2010 with Vancouver I won Defensive Player of the Year so that was a good accomplishment for me. I hadn’t won too many individual accolades at that point, even since then. Winning that award for the entire league was cool. We had the best goals against average that year too and I got the award so that was my best individual accomplishment.
NUVO: What is your favorite restaurant in the city?
Janicki: We don’t eat out a whole lot but we really love Handel’s Ice Cream. That’s right down the street from us so we frequent that place a lot.
NUVO: What’s your go-to flavor?
Janicki: There’s this chocolate, raspberry, swirl type thing…I don’t even know what it’s called but that’s the one I’ve been going to. Then we at Brixx pizza quite a bit too.
NUVO: Favorite pizza?
Janicki: You can’t go wrong with a barbecue chicken.
NUVO: What would you plan on a day-off?
Janicki: I’d probably like to go golfing. I used to golf quite a bit when I was a kid but I don’t get to go quite as much. Keith Cardona could golf every day it seems like so if I have a day off or if the family is out of town I try to get out to the links with him.
NUVO: I’ve got to ask, are you any good?
Janicki: I’m alright. For golfing maybe a handful of times a year I’m happy if I shoot 90. If I hit in the upper 80’s I’m ecstatic. 90 is my goal.
NUVO: If you had a week for a vacation, where would you go?
Janicki: Good question. We just went to Thailand in November. That was our first time leaving the continent. I’ve never been to Europe so I guess if we had a week I’d love to get [there]. I think the Swiss Alps would be really nice to see so maybe start there and make our way around. That’s kind of a central location in Europe so post up in Switzerland and train and bus around.