Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Soccer Life - David Eaton

Photo credit
This edition of The Soccer Life is about one of my earliest friends. David's family lived just around the corner from mine. His brother is my age and we played soccer together. My brother and David were a year apart in age, but they played soccer together. As a result, the four of us did a lot of activities together. There were countless times through the years when the four of us were playing pickup games together of soccer, basketball, football, tennis, roller hockey, etc. David was the youngest of the group, but was unafraid to mix it up with us regardless of the sport. He readily admits below that his soccer career was not spectacular, but David's fearlessness when it came to the sports we all played together seems to have translated to the rest of his life. David participated in the Little 500 three times while at Indiana University, biked around Spain (Camino de Santiago), drove the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile around the western portion of the country for a year in 2001-2002, has completed a half Ironman, and was a middle school Spanish teacher for awhile. If that's not enough unique experiences in a lifetime (and he's only in his mid-30s, David also served in Iraq as a MEDEVAC pilot flying Blackhawk helicopters and is currently a Major, serving as Operations Officer for the 38th Combat Aviation Brigade of the Indiana National Guard. So while he admits that soccer isn't a major piece of his life now, I thought I could use this forum/medium as it relates to his connection with soccer to shine some light on someone who helps protect the freedoms we enjoy. Thanks for participating in the survey David! 

1. Name:
David Eaton

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

3. Soccer-specific Nickname (and any story behind it):
  Gibby – I think they needed someone to pick on that day, and I drew the short straw. believe it was [Coach] Scanlon that thought I looked like Gilbert from "Leave it To Beaver." I will leave it for the jury.
Editor's note: Sorry David, but there's enough of a resemblance to see why you got that name. I was also able to find in an old yearbook that Gibby Eaton was part of the Spanish Club and he looked a great deal like you. Did you give that name as a joke or did somebody in the yearbook committee know your nickname?

4. Age started playing:
- Probably 6 or 8

5. First recollection of the game:
- I took a picture on picture day while on the orange team with the Suburban West Optimist Club League with shin guards over sweat pants and the sweat pants pulled up to my chin.  Who let me leave the house like that?

6. Highest level of play achieved:
- Varsity HS

7. Last competitive match – Date (if known) & Level of Play
- Probably Fall of 19961997 in a first round sectional.
Editor's note: Dave thought it was 1996, but I was able to determine that it was a 1-3 loss in the 1997 Indiana High School Sectionals.

8. Position:
- Oh about anywhere.  Lots of goalie then some defense after my hand injury.

9. Jersey number:
- Whatever they gave.

10. Most memorable moment(s):
- Actually getting Varsity time after nearly 5 years of practice, JV, and more practice.  Eventually your number will be called.

11. Least memorable moment(s):
- Breaking my finger from an arrant kick when playing goalie.  It is still crooked today.  It still hasn't straightened itself out.  In a close second... the time we lost an indoor game 22-0.

12. Favorite team:
- Anyone we had a chance to beat.

David meeting Lauren Holiday at the
2015 Crown Royal 400 at the Brickyard
13. Favorite player:
- Historical: Tony Meola...he tried to make it in the NFL
Editor's note: For the Pete Carroll-led Jets, to be specific. Nicknamed "Captain Hook" by teammates, he had five preseason kickoffs, only one of which made it to the endzone, and his NFL career ended after 3 preseason games.

- Current: I don't follow it any more.

14. Indoor vs Outdoor:
- Either is fine...I do remember many late nights for open play at Indy Indoor at 21st and High School Road.

15. Grass vs Turf:
- Good grass... not that lumpy grass clusters we had on the JV field.  You need a good, generally smooth, field.
Editor's note: This is a reoccurring theme for my high school teammates. We did not have good fields back then...

16. Coaching experience:
- I almost coached U6 this year for my daughter, but I didn't raise my hand quick enough.

17. Refereeing experience:
- Some intramural or travel league out at 10 street in is a thankless job.

18. Favorite World Cup moment(s):
- When it came to the states in 1994.

19. Honors/Awards:
- My greatest soccer award actually came from the classroom...Academic All Star or something like that [All State actually].  I was not the fleet footed magician.  If I had to make a livin' off my soccer skills, I would have gone hungry a long time ago.
Editor's note: If I recall correctly, all the Thompson and Eaton boys won this award. David's older brother got the award the same year that I did and my brother got it sometime in between. We were all the true definition of student-athletes, with arguably a heavier emphasis on the "student" part, despite all of us being varsity lettermen.

20. Other sports played (and to what level):
- College Intramural soccer, JV Swimming
Editor's note: I found out about David's foray into competition swimming from my brother and I thought David was crazy. Up to that point, I couldn't remember David ever participating in competitive swimming. Yet, he decided that was what he wanted to do, and did it. Like I said, his fearlessness and ability to tackle new challenges seems to have been a reoccurring theme in his life. It's really quite impressive.

21. Other Comments:
- Looking back I always thought I wanted to play baseball because I hated running and there is not much running in baseball.  How the heck did I end up with so many hours on the soccer field?  Who would have thought that 20 years later I enjoy endurance running and cycling?  I do attribute soccer as the activity that planted a seed in me to lead an active life style today.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Indy Eleven vs Pachuca FC - International Exhibition

- Opponent: C.F. Pachuca
- Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Attendance: 6,605
- Final Score: 1-0 W
- Starting XI: Cardona, Franco, Miller, Janicki, Keller, Mares, Torrado, Paterson, Gordon, Zayed, Youla
- Substitutions: Lacroix 45' (Gordon), Braun 45' (Zayed), Vukovic 60' (Mares), Ring 62' (Torrado), Ubiparipovic 68'  (Youla), Palmer 77' (Janicki)
- Unused: Busch, Reinoso
- Goals: Zayed 7'
- Bookings: Keller 45' (Yellow), Miller 84' (Yellow)
- Adage goals: None

After my field temperature experiment for the Carolina game, I decided to go better prepared this week as the Indy Eleven took on C.F. Pachuca for an international friendly with a start time of 1:30 on a day where the outside temperature was in the low 90s. Not surprisingly, the temperature at field level was well above the air temperature to the point where I wondered if the thermometer was working properly because it kept rising. I shaded it from the sun and it immediately went down so I think it was accurate. It finally stopped rising at 137-degrees F. While the periodic clouds provided a noticeable reduction in the air temperature, it didn't do much to cool the field temperature and I watched several players grab the water bottles spread out around the field and use them on their cleats instead of drinking it.

Yet, despite the heat and the international friendly aspect of the game, there was a good pace to the game with both teams having good chances on goal. Pachuca managed more shots than the Eleven, but Cardona did well with his placement and his athletic ability to make a few of them seem a little more routine than they actually were. Pachuca held the bulk of the possession, but that shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody who has watched the Eleven play this season. Based solely on the statistics, you might be inclined to say that Pachuca were the better team, but if there's anything we've learned about Indy Eleven 3.0, stats can be deceiving, they're opportunistic, and they're not going to quit. Or as was the case for this game, Zayed found an early goal because he didn't quit on the play and when two Pachuca defenders (Martinez and U.S. Men's National Team member Omar Gonzalez) misplayed a ball over the top, he was there to gather the ball and slot it nicely into the left side of the goal.

The thing that always makes international friendlies interesting for me is the number of subs that are available to each team. It can often create a disjointed feeling to the game as players are coming in and times that are different than their normal substitution patterns and trying to get immediately into the flow of the game. Los Tuzos tried to solve this, and the temperature problem, by making wholesale changes to their lineup at halftime, removing all 11 players for a new set of 11. The Eleven made 6 substitutions of their own, leaving just Cardona, Franco, Miller, Keller, and Paterson playing the entirety of the 90 minutes between the two teams. Probably not surprisingly from Coach Hankinson, the players he played the entire game were all in the defense. Build from the back. I jokingly said that Busch didn't play because in that heat and his age, his normal attire of long sleeves and long pants would have risked putting him in the ER from heat stroke.

The announced attendance was 6,055 and there was easily a 75% bias to the Mexican side. A game with La Liga MX champions in conjunction with the debut of recent Indy Eleven signing, and Mexican international, Gerrado Torrado created an atmosphere that was heavy on Spanish speaking players, fans, chants (and insults), and culture. Whether Torrado's presence will further translate to some of those fans returning during the NASL games is yet to be determined. As I reflect back on Torrado's debut, it's hard to judge. The international friendly aspect of it creates its own challenges, but I think Torrado had a good solid shift. Did he do anything spectacular? Not really. Did he do anything horrible. Not really. He just had a good start to his time here as he starts to learn about his teammates.

One thing that amazed me between the styles of the two teams was the difference in width. As we've noticed from the Eleven's average location maps throughout the Spring Season, the midfielders and the forwards tend to pinch in towards the middle. Pachuca's players, particularly in the first half, played sideline to sideline. Even when the ball switched to the opposite side, they remained glued to the sideline creating amazing width and switching options as the Eleven players continued their trend of pinching into the middle. The Eleven did a good job of recovering, but it was impressive to see how disciplined Los Tuzos remained at trying to keep that width.

Overall, it was a good game, good crowd (though I wasn't impressed with the bad language around me...even with my rough Spanish, I still remember a lot of the cuss words and those were plentiful), and a good result for the Eleven.

One of these guys scored a goal. The other misplayed the ball that lead to the goal. Faces tell you everything.

This was one of the last things I remember seeing before ducking down as Cory Miller jumped over me as I got stuck trying to figure out where to go to not make our collision worse. Not convinced I made the right decision after hearing him hit the stands and then pick himself up off the ground. So glad he turned out to be okay.