Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Soccer Life - Drew

This is the first edition of what I hope becomes a regular series on the site. It's where I ask a series of questions to my fellow soccer players and fans about the game that we have either grown up with or grown to love. While the questions were originally intended to be towards players, I think others can modify the questions to fit their own specific role in the game. Whether that's as a player, coach, referee, parent, or just fan, I hope to be able to get some input from all kinds of fans. I'll start by answering my own questions and then Kevin is the first one in the queue. I hope you enjoy!

1. Name:

2. Role (Player, Parent, Coach, Referee, General Spectator, All of the Above, None of the Above, Other):
- All of the Above

3. Soccer-specific Nickname (and any story behind it):
- Stump – High school coach gave it to me because he was looking for something related to being a twig (being skinny will do that for you), but didn’t want it to be quite as obvious as Twig. So he settled on Stump. A couple years later my little brother joined the team and he became Twig because he was a smaller version of me. Ironically, at the time, I was built like the twig and he was more like the stump, but that’s the way it goes sometimes with nicknames.

- Cheetah/Gazelle – Youth travel team coach would periodically say that I ran like one of them because I was pretty fast with the ball.

4. Age started playing:
- Around the age of 5.

5. First recollection of the game:
- I believe it was my first ever soccer practice. We were walking away from the practice field at an elementary school with my parents and the coach, who told me to dribble the ball back to the car. I proceeded to dribble the ball like a basketball. The coach quickly corrected me to dribble like I was just shown in practice and I did that the rest of the way to the car.

6. Highest level of play achieved:
- 4 year high school varsity letter winner.
- Played for the international club team at DePauw,
- Intramurals at DePauw,
- Intramurals at Purdue.

7. Last competitive match – Date (if known) & Level of Play
- High school - Fall of 1993, loss in sectionals
- Intramurals - Sometime around 1997 or 1998 with the Purdue intramural team for Cary Quad.

8. Position:
- I played every position during my career, including a tension-filled season for my mother when I played goalkeeper with a reckless abandon. However, I consider myself a midfielder – Feel like I finished my career as a left-midfielder, but I kind of moved around as required.

9. Jersey number:
- Obviously, I had different numbers throughout my soccer career (#1 for a long time, #2 at the start of my high school career), but I associate my final number in high school as “my” number. #6

10. Most memorable moment(s):
- 6 goal game in an indoor game while my high school coaches were watching through the windows of the bar that was attached.
- Pass from Patrick that I caught perfectly off my chest and scored a goal during an indoor game
- Dummy play where I went towards the ball, bringing two defenders with me, and let it go through my legs to one of our players who scored a goal, also during an indoor game
- Hat trick in a game in Richmond. There was a huge puddle along the left side of the field and it would stop the ball immediately. Seemed like every time I hit the puddle, the other team would stop because the ball stopped and it would give me enough of a chance to kick it out of the puddle, get behind the defense, and score a goal.
- Lemonade from lemons – learning to use my left foot after injuring my right foot as a kid and not wanting to not be playing, I started kicking the ball with my left foot. I was never great with my left, but became proficient enough that I often found myself playing the left side of the field through the rest of my playing career because of a lack of left-footer players and others who were serviceable with their left foot.

11. Least memorable moment(s):
- Taking myself out of what turned out to me my final high school game because I was afraid I was going to let my emotions get the best of me and get thrown out. Then I spent most of the rest of the game on the bench. In essence, I gave myself a red card, when I really didn’t need to do it.
- Getting a concussion during an indoor game. I was never as confident going for headers after that, even though the injury didn’t occur as a result of heading the ball. An opposing player and I kicked the ball at the same time, causing me to do a somersault and landing mostly on the back of my head. It could be said that it’s truly my least “memorable” moment because I really don’t remember the moments right around it. It was caught on video so that helps some…
- Not finishing out the tryout at DePauw. I quit the tryout because I wasn’t having fun. Later that year, I played against many of those same players during my soccer class and I was as good as most of them. Could I have made the team? Maybe not, but I’ll never know.

12. Favorite team:
- Without a doubt, the team that I have to watch is the U.S. Women’s National Team. A new close second has become the Indy Eleven and a close third is the Men’s National Team. All other teams have varying degrees of interest for me, with FC Kansas City (NWSL), Sporting Kansas City (MLS), Real Salt Lake (MLS), and Chicago Fire (MLS) as other teams that I enjoy watching. I also like watching FC Barcelona, but how can you not appreciate the type of football they play?

13. Favorite player:
- I feel like most people in that I should say Pele, because of what he means to the sport, but I really never saw him play. So I value his contribution to the sport, especially in what his time with the New York Cosmos did for soccer in this country, but there are other players that meant more to me as a player that I actually watched.
- Mia Hamm
- Alexi Lalas
- John Harkes (more in an upcoming post)

- Messi
- Lauren Holiday (more in an upcoming post)
- Michael Bradley

14. Indoor vs Outdoor:
- Outdoor, with a fondness for indoor. I preferred the outdoor game, but the speed of indoor was ideally suited to my style of play and being able to work the angles off the wall around a defender.

15. Grass vs Turf:
- Grass, though I had limited experiences on turf outdoors. I should point out that I played on some crappy soccer fields in my day. The Ben Davis high school field was not what it is today when I played. There were rocks on the field, no lights, no concession stand, no locker room (we shared a locker room with the baseball team and that wasn’t close to the field, which is why halftimes took place on the bench or in a corner of the field), and the practice field was even worse. I remember a game, I think in Noblesville or Zionsville (it was definitely in a “‘ville”), where I was going down the field and the ball bounced straight up as it hit a rut in the field from car tires. That's the kind of fields where I played.

16. Coaching experience:
- Currently starting my 6th season as a head or assistant coach for a youth rec league
U4 - 1 season
U6 - 4 seasons
U8 - 1 season

17. Refereeing experience:
- I was a referee when I was a kid, around the age of 11-13. I did games for the U6, U8, and U10 teams in a local recreation league.

18. Favorite World Cup moment(s):
- Most of my memories tend to be around the Women's National Team. Most likely because they have had more success and tend to be in more games than the Men's National Team. Brandi Chastain showing the world her sports bra in 1999 was cool. The U.S. hosting the Men's 1994 World Cup was also cool.

19. Honors/Awards:
- Four-year letter winner in high school.
- Academic All-State my senior year in high school.
- I don’t remember getting any other major award.

20. Other sports played (and to what level):
- Wrestling – One year in 7th grade.
- No other sport played in an organized league, but I spent my entire youth playing whatever game you could throw at me; basketball, roller hockey, tennis, football, softball/baseball, volleyball, and various combinations of all of those (roller basketball, roller tennis, roller soccer, soccer tennis, soccer volleyball)

21. Other Comments:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We both should have been nicknamed Twig because we were both thin and lanky. I could have been Twig Junior. :)