MatSu United FC


Twenty for 20: Iakov Shmelev

Twenty short questions with Alaska City FC Defender Iakov Shmelev
Published May 13, 2020

Raised in Russia, Alaska City FC's talented defender Iakov Shmelev has had quite the journey to reach the Last Frontier Conference of UPSL. After moving stateside, Iakov played for Seattle's prestigious Crossfire Premier Academy through his high school years, eventually moving on to play for Western Washington University at the collegiate level. With both Crossfire and WWU, Iakov made deep runs into national competitions including a pair of quarterfinal appearances in the USSDA National Championship before eventually moving further north to Alaska and joining AKCFC.

Iakov was a mainstay in the Alaska City defense throughout the 2019 UPSL season, playing primarily as a central defender - though he possesses the technical abilities to play right-back very comfortably. In a season where he impressed tremendously, even being named as a starter in the UPSL Last Frontier Conference team of the season, Iakov caught many eyes with his ability to read opposition attacks; exemplifying his exceptional tactical understanding of the game.

Headed into the 2020 season, we're helping Alaska City FC supporters get to know their players better - and this time it's Iakov Shmelev's turn to tackle Twenty for 20...

Q: What club do you support?
IS: CSKA Moscow

Q: Who is the best player in the world?
IS: In my opinion Cristiano Ronaldo, for his work ethic and overall abilities.

Q: Dogs or cats?
IS: Dogs for sure

Q: Who is your all-time favorite player?
IS: Andrey Arshavin, I grew up watching him play for Arsenal and Russian national team.

Q: What’s your dream car?
IS: Porsche Panamera

Q: What’s your go-to fast food stop?
IS: I’d have to say Chick-fil-A, whenever I’m down in the Seattle area.

Q: If you had to pick one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
IS: Pasta, because it’s probably the most frequent dish for me.

Q: If you could play a game at any stadium in the world, where would you choose?
IS: Santiago Bernabéu

Q: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
IS: Don’t have an all time favorite, but the most recent one I enjoyed was The Gentlemen.

Q: Who’s the funniest person in the AKCFC squad?
IS: There’s a lot of great characters on the team, but I’d say Zach McCann.

Q: What’s your favorite league to watch?
IS: LaLiga for its technique and possession based soccer. It’s a great league to watch for entertainment and to learn from.

Q: Who’s the best-dressed at AKCFC?
IS: I would say Bon, he has a pretty unique style.

Q: What’s your favorite soccer memory?
IS: Probably would have to be winning the GNAC title with Western last fall. It was the first time since 2008 for the program and it meant a lot for the whole team.

Q: Where would you like to see a new UPSL club in Alaska next?
IS: Would be cool to see one in Kenai. Going down there for an away game and combining that with fishing could be fun.

Q: Other than soccer, what’s your favorite sport?
IS: Hockey, because it’s a pretty action packed sport. Vancouver is also pretty close to me, so I’ve been up to watch the Canucks’ games there.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, with all expenses paid, where would you go?
IS: Bali, Indonesia seems like it would be a super interesting and beautiful place to visit. I’ve also never been to that part of the world and think it would be an amazing experience.

Q: What was your favorite part of the 2019 season?
IS: Meeting the team and getting to know all of the guys, as well as playing with them for the first time. It was also amazing to play in Alaska, especially during the summertime.

Q: What are your goals for the 2020 season?
IS: I hope that we can build on from last season and improve as a team in general. Hopefully we can achieve good results while we’re at it!

Q: What’s your pregame ritual?
IS: I usually don’t go on my phone before the game and just chat to my teammates in the locker room instead. I just try to embrace the moment with the team and keep my mind on the task at hand.

Q: What’s your favorite weekend activity?
IS: On the weekends we usually have a bonfire with my housemates at the beach nearby for the sunset.

Follow Iakov on social media!
Instagram: iakovshmelev