5th April 2013 - SPIKES meets the fastest Hammer.
Ahead of West Ham’s visit to Liverpool on Sunday, SPIKES catches up with pacy winger and former long distance runner Matt Jarvis, on the perils of mixing football and track; knocking it long to Usain Bolt and playing at the scene of Super Saturday.
West Ham’s Matt Jarvis is going to stick his neck on the line: “I’d like to say that I’m the fastest player at West Ham. But we’ve got quite a few sharp players.”
SPIKES has visited the Hammers’ training ground to talk to Jarvis about running. Watching him sprint down the left flank for West Ham, you might have imagined he was a handy schoolboy sprinter. But as a youngster it was the endurance events that Jarvis excelled at.
“I don’t know why but I used to be good at the 800m, 1500m and cross country rather than the sprints, which amuses me now,” says Jarvis.
“I used to really enjoy cross country, and running through the hills and forests.”
He was good, too. Jarvis landed an age group gold at the Surrey Cross Country Championships, competed in UK Cross Country trials and also prospered in the middle distances races on the track.
Juggling football, athletics and swimming (he was also a county breaststroke champion), Jarvis trained for athletics every Wednesday and often tried to squeeze in all three sports on a weekend.
“I remember one weekend I had a Surrey county football match in the morning, an athletics meet in the afternoon and a swimming gala that evening.
“In the football match I was elbowed in the face and broke my nose. I wasn’t allowed to compete in athletics or swimming that day but the next day I came back to run in either the 800m or 1500m. I finished second but I couldn’t breathe out of my nose.”
As his football prowess developed and with that, the bulging calf muscles to match, Jarvis became less suited to the demands of endurance running. His performance levels dipped, and he quit athletics aged 16.
Jarvis says his background in athletics has proved crucial to his football career. Capped by England in 2011, he secured a summer move to West Ham worth up to £10.75m ($16.4m). He’s made 27 appearances for the Hammers this season, scoring one goal.
“Running the longer distances has helped me massively because during a game you have to last 90 minutes at full pelt,” he says. “Towards the end of the second half when I’m fatigued, I can draw upon different cross country runs I’ve done in the past.
“It is a bit like digging in for a sprint finish at the end of the race. I’ll use that background to grind it out and nip past someone to create a shooting opportunity. Or a cross which might earn my team a win.”
Today, Jarvis reckons he could run “11 seconds something” for the 100m. But who’s the fastest player he’s ever come up against?
“I have to say, over the short sprints, Theo Walcott [Arsenal and England forward] while over the longer distance of say, 60 yards, I’d say Gareth Bale [Spurs and Wales]. He has the physique of a long-distance runner.”
Although Jarvis hasn’t competed in athletics for a decade, he remains an avid fan. “I really enjoy the 100m, the 200m and the relays, because you are seeing the fastest people in the world,” he says. “I also enjoy watching the longer distance stuff with Mo, and I think: how the hell can they run at that speed for that long?”
He describes Super Saturday, the evening at the London Olympics when Greg Rutherford, Mo Farah and Jess Ennis struck gold for Great Britain, as “the most amazing sporting experience”, and he’ll soon get to ply his trade at the scene, as West Ham have been announced as the long-term tenants of the Olympic Stadium.
“The move is really exciting for us as players. After the success of the Olympics, the move was very much of making sure there was a legacy for people to enjoy the stadium.”
One question remains, one that is pondered by sports fans the world over. Would Usain Bolt, who has talked up his chances as a footballer, prosper in the Premier League?
“I’ve never seen him kick a ball but you could definitely use him as a striker and knock the ball over the top for him to chase on to,” says Jarvis, with one caveat. “Could he change direction?”
4th March 2013 - Matt Jarvis spends an afternoon at The Prince's Trust.
This week West Ham footballer, Matt Jarvis spent an afternoon with some of the young people from The Prince's Trust where he shared his tips, advice and inspirations with them. The Young People, some based in Tottenham, and some in Newham have formed groups in order to give something back to their otherwise unaccepting communities. The groups have been putting in work to regenerate their respective communities through such forms as redecorating their local children's hospital to repairing equipment at local community centres.
Matt was a welcomed asset to the event, with many of the youths being West Ham supporters themselves. After the presentations from each group and a brief introduction, Matt had a short Q+A session with the young people where he spoke about everything from his career highlights, to playing with Ryan Giggs, and how he got involved with football.
For more information on The Prince's Trust please visit: www.princes-trust.org.uk
7th February 2013 - West Ham United Winger Matt Jarvis smashes one of football’s biggest taboos by appearing on the cover of the UK’s best selling gay magazine Attitude.
West Ham United Winger Matt Jarvis smashes one of football’s biggest taboos by appearing on the cover of the UK’s best selling gay magazine Attitude.
In a major exclusive West Ham United Winger Matt Jarvis gives a groundbreaking interview to the February issue of Attitude magazine.
Attitude has featured major sports stars on the cover over the years including England cricketer Jimmy Anderson, rugby’s Gareth Thomas and Ben Cohen, London 2012’s Greg Rutherford (Olympic) and Jonnie Peacock (paralympian) ¬– but Matt is only the third professional footballer to appear on the cover of Attitude since it began in 1994. David Beckham was first in 2002, followed by Freddie Ljungberg in 2006. None have appeared since.
Jarvis says that despite appearances the footballing community is not homophobic and asked if a footballer should come out he says ‘Yeah, of course. It’s everyday life. It’s not something that’s going to be a shock. I’m sure there are many footballers who are gay, but when they decide to actually come out and say it is a different story. It’s one that I’m sure they’ve thought about many times. But it’s a hard thing for them to do.’
Adding that a footballer coming out would be supported, he says‘There’d be support everywhere within the football community, whether it be players, fans or within the PFA. There would definitely be groups of people who would be supportive and help them through it.
Asked about Clare Balding’s recent comments in Attitude that being open about a sports stars sexuality would benefit the performance of an individual and/or team, Jarvis comments ‘I’d agree with that. Because you’ve always got something you’re worried about at the back of your mind. If you can let that go and then just concentrate on your one goal, which is whichever sport you’re doing to the best of your ability, I think that would help. Definitely… I’m sure that would help with the team situation, yeah’
Editor Matthew Todd said ‘It’s ridiculous that there are no openly gay players in professional football. There’s rightly been a focus on ridding the beautiful game of racism but there doesn’t seem to be much effort to tackle homophobia. We know there are gay players – and fans who support the game religiously – so I hope this starts a discussion and is a small step in the right direction towards attitude’s changing.’
24th August 2012 - Matt Jarvis signs for West Ham United
West Ham United are delighted to announce the signing of England international winger Matt Jarvis from Wolverhampton Wanderers for an undisclosed fee.
Jarvis becomes West Ham's club-record signing after agreeing a contract until 2017 - with an option for a further year - and could be in line to make his first appearance in claret and blue in Saturday's game at Swansea City. The 26-year-old leaves Wolves after five successful years that saw him earn his first England cap and be named Wolves' Player of the Year in 2011.
Jarvis' career began at Gillingham, where he made his debut in 2003 at the age of 17. He went on to make over 100 appearances for the Gills and he was named in the League One Team of the Year in 2006/07.
He moved to Wolves in June 2007 for an undisclosed fee and helped the club to gain promotion to the Premier League the following season. Jarvis' first game in England's top-flight was against the Hammers and he quickly made his mark in the Premier League with a number of eye-catching displays.
Jarvis, a quick and tricky winger capable of operating on either flank, continued to excel and in the 2010/11 season he was named Wolves' Supporters' Player of the Season and Players' Player of the Season.
It was in March 2011 that Jarvis made his first appearance for England in a 1-1 draw with Ghana at Wembley after being called up by then-manager Fabio Capello. Last season, Jarvis was the most prolific and accurate crosser in the top flight, firing over 218 and finding a team-mate 56 times. He also scored eight goals - his highest single-season tally.
Jarvis, who will wear the No7 shirt, is happy to have finally joined West Ham after being courted by a number of top-flight teams this summer.
He said: "I'm delighted to have signed. It's a fantastic club and I'm pleased to be here. It's a great club and it's got great history and tradition. I know about Bobby Moore and the history and tradition that go with that.
"I'll be playing with some fantastic players and it'll be great to get into training and I'm looking forward to playing with them. Hopefully I will add a bit of pace, crossing and deliveries that will provide some assists."
Jarvis is set to join up with his new team-mates at Chadwell Heath on Friday morning before travelling to Wales ahead of Saturday's mouth-watering clash.
"I've been told about how good the fans are hopefully they'll get behind me and I can show them what I can do.
"It'll be straight in and hit the ground running. There's no time to think about it, you've just got to get on with it, which is good. I hope to train with the team today and then travel up to Swansea."
Jarvis' new manager Sam Allardyce was understandably pleased to have secured the services of the wideman. He said. "From my point of view it is a big piece of business for a terrific young man who will add a lot of quality to our team.
"Certainly from an attacking sense he is one of the best final-third crossers in the Premier League and his stats were very good at Wolverhampton Wanderers. He delivers in the business end of the field and creates a lot of chances and is a player that can give opposition defences an awful lot of trouble. We are hoping he will produce that for us."
10th April 2012 - Young people meet Wanderers star
Wolverhampton Wanderers' player, Matt Jarvis, lent a hand to a group of unemployed young people undertaking a Prince's Trust programme today (Thursday 5th April) in their bid to raise money to benefit the local community.
The midfielder, who last year scooped the Supporters' and Players' Player of the Year awards, took time out to help the young people complete a fundraising bag-pack at Iceland so they can carry out a community project to benefit a local community centre.
The young people are taking part on The Trust's Team programme - a 12-week personal development course which gives them the skills and confidence to find a job. They will also undertake work placements and gain qualifications on the course which is run with City of Wolverhampton College. Last year more than three in four young people supported by The Trust moved into work, training or education. The visit comes as more than a third of young people in Wolverhampton are struggling to find a job.
Matt, who has been announced as a Prince's Trust ambassador this week, said: "With youth unemployment continuing to rise, I am proud to be named an Ambassador for The Trust. Their work is vital in ensuring vulnerable young people get the support they need to turn their lives around. Being here today to help the group raise as much money as possible is a true honour."
Paul Beesley, regional director for The Prince's Trust in the West Midlands, added:"It's fantastic to have Matt here today to meet the young people. He is an inspirational player on the pitch and he has really helped to motivate the young people on the course today."
The Prince's Trust is celebrating 15 years of its Football Initiative which has a long history of harnessing the power and passion of the game to bring about positive change to young people. The Trust's partnership with the Premier League and Professional Footballers' Association has helped more than 20,000 young people through football since 1997. The initiative boosts the confidence, motivation and team working skills of the young people on the programmes and helps them to gain new qualifications.
For further information about The Prince's Trust go to www.princes-trust.org.uk or call 0800 842 842.
19th March 2012 - Matt Jarvis signs for MetaSox
Matt Jarvis has signed as a brand ambassador for MetaSox, a revolutionary new brand of performance sport socks. Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Jarvis, who won his first England cap in March 2011, wears MetaSox in the Premier League and has starred in a YouTube video featuring the product.
MetaSox feature an impact pad formed from a specifically engineered, flexible and elasticated silicone compound. The impact pad provides an extended contact period with the ball, passing on additional power to the wearer.
The silicone area also covers the entire Metatarsal region and can withstand 40 Newtons of force despite being only 3mm deep.
Matt Jarvis said: "I use the socks for training and games. They are very comfortable and lightweight and give me the added cushion I need with crosses and shots.
"The socks are now part of my day to day preparation."
MetaSox Director Chris Niesiolowski said: "We're delighted to welcome Matt on board as an official ambassador for MetaSox."
"Matt is a top professional and we are delighted that he will showcase the unique benefits of MetaSox in the Premier League."
Metasox are available exclusively from The World's Largest Online Football Store, www.prodirectsoccer.com