RICHMOND, Va. – With the start of a new semester right around the corner, has decided to bring back an old feature to let Ram Nation know a little more about the student-athletes they love to cheer for. 

"Getting to Know" will be a weekly feature that will highlight student-athletes from the 16 intercollegiate athletic programs that make up Ram Nation. Each week, VCU Athletic Communications Graduate Assistant Marle van Dessel will chat it up with selected athletes to get inside their world and let us know a little more about themselves.

The first edition features rising junior Nate Shiffman of the men's soccer team. Shiffman has been an integral part of a new era of VCU soccer. He started 18 of VCU's 19 games last year as the defensive midfielder, guiding the Rams to 11 victories on the campaign. The Midlothian, Va. native will be back next fall to help guide the Black & Gold in what is sure to be another exciting year for VCU soccer.

MVD: Why did you decide to come to VCU?
NS: I decided to come to VCU for two main reasons. First, VCU has a great medical school program that I am interested in. And secondly, because I believe that Coach Giffard and others involved with the men's soccer team can bring a national championship to this school. 

MVD: What influenced you to get involved with soccer?

NS: My mom and my three older siblings influenced me the most to play soccer. Although I had to wait until I was four years old to play on my first real team, I had been playing with my siblings ever since I could walk.

MVD: What is one thing that most people don't know about you?

NS: One thing that people don't know about me is that I watch Vampire Diaries.

MVD: Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions?

NS: During the national anthem of every game I pray for family and my friends.

MVD: Who has been the toughest opponent you have played against? (team or individual)

NS: The toughest opponent I have ever played against was Akron my freshmen year.

MVD: If you could play on any other VCU Athletic team which one would it be?

NS: I think I would take my athleticism to the sport of track, where I would participate in the high jump and 100 meter dash.

MVD: If you could travel to any place in the world where would you go?

NS: Liverpool, England

MVD: What actor would play you in a movie?
NS: Since I'm weird and Jewish, I think Adam Sandler suits me best. It was between him and Denzel Washington.

MVD: What is the best part about being a VCU soccer player?
NS: The best part about being a VCU soccer player is being with my teammates all the time. We are a family and I love them all.

MVD: Describe a moment when you felt the most RamNation pride?
NS: After VCU beat Kansas last year in basketball to go to the final four, I've never seen so much RamNation pride. The celebration on Broad St. was an experience I will never forget.

What is your favorite…

Website: YouTube   
Song: No Scrubs by TLC
TV Show: Vampire Diaries:/ …I blame Becca
Movie: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Place to play besides VCU: UVA or Akron
Place to eat in Richmond: Kobe Japanese Steakhouse
Sport to watch on TV: Soccer, but Curling is a close second
Pro Sports Team: Liverpool FC
Pro Athlete: Xavi Hernandez


Bench-press or squat: Bench
Winter or summer: Summer
In season or out of season: Definitely in season
Morning classes or evening classes: Evening
High school or college: College
Sprints or long distance: HA!...long distance
Facebook or twitter: Facebook
Singing or dancing: Unfortunately I'm not gifted in either, however I choose dancing
Winter Olympics or summer Olympics: Winter
Cat or dog: Duke! (dog)