The young journalists from Write on Sports were seated in a semicircle as Robby Howard, a sports writer with The Goshen News, began the interview with Gaby Romo, who starred in soccer for Goshen High School and just finished her first season at Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne.
“I like to start with easier questions,” Howard said, addressing the students. “A lot of the time sources may be a little nervous. I want to put them in a position where they are comfortable.”
Howard turned to Romo and asked: “Have you been watching the World Cup games?”
Romo broke into a smile. She disclosed that her favorite teams entering the competition were Mexico and the Netherlands, neither of which advanced to the final match. But the biggest winner may have been soccer in the U.S., she said.
“Compared with earlier World Cups, this year in the United States everyone was watching,” she said. “In 2010 it was hard to find a television set with soccer on. Now it seemed everyone was watching. Soccer is becoming more popular.”
A few minutes into the interview, Howard turned back to the students. “Gaby’s answers are getting longer now, which tells me that she’s getting more comfortable,” he said.
For profile articles, Howard said that he often works chronologically, going back in time. He looked at his prepared list of questions and asked: “How did you get interested in playing soccer?”
Romo, who has four brothers, said that she started playing as a 6-year-old. “I played with guys,” she said. “I was the only girl. They played kind of rough. My brothers said to work hard, run, lift weights, and then maybe I could make the middle school team.”
Howard told the students that at this point he was leaving prepared questions to follow an interesting trail. “What was it like to play with boys?”
“They were way more aggressive,” she said. “I got used to more yelling.”
Romo finished her first season as a midfielder and forward at IPFW. She was a leading offensive threat for the Mastodons, scoring four goals in the Summit League. She is majoring in biology with plans to attend medical school.
Before the interview ended, Romo mentioned that she had traveled to Chicago this year to try out for the U20 Mexico team. She said the competition began with 160 young women, who were funneled down to 80 and then to 30. In the end, officials selected six players who qualified for the reserve team.
“They told us that they would give us a call,” she said. “So now I’m waiting for that call.”