Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Soccer Life - Jon Busch

There's been one player in the history of the team that I have related to the most. It's not because I ever played soccer professionally, nor even because I played goalkeeper (short of one season in my youth, which was nerve-wrecking for my mother). No, it's because he was born in the same year as me and we married our wives in the same year (if Wikipedia is to be believed). 

He was an "old" guy.

Of the 121 players that the Indy Eleven have signed in their history, Jon Busch is the oldest player to have ever been signed. When Jon was announced by the team in January 2016, John was 39 years, 5 months, and 4 days old. For reference, the only other players to be signed to the team after their 35th birthday were Gerrado Torrado (37 years, 1 month, 9 days) and Kim Do-Heon (36 years, 7 months, 19 days).

Yet, Jon was a leader and still not past his playing days even when his playing days ended. I believe (I know) Jon had at least one more season in him. However, Jon has continued to train young goalkeepers and pass along the lessons he has learned over the years. As a consultant, Jon routinely trains goalkeepers at all levels, including the Indy Eleven players, as Jon and Nikki have decided to make Indianapolis their home now, even after his role with Indy Eleven has ended. 

Jon also routinely helps me in understanding the business side of the sport, goalkeeper tactics, and general soccer discussions. He and I regularly engage in conversations about the state of Indy Eleven, the USL/MLS, and what he is doing to help grow the goalkeeper union. So I was glad he was finally convinced to answer my questions about The Soccer Life. 

Without further ado, here is The Soccer Life of Jon Bush.

1. Name:
- Jon Busch

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

That's an understatement.

3. Soccer-specific Nickname (and any story behind it):
- Buschy (wife started calling me that many years ago)

4. Age became interested in soccer:
- 6 - 7 years old

5. First recollection of the game:
- Playing youth ball with my dad and brother coaching me.

6. Highest level of play achieved:
- MLS and US National Team

Jon was originally brought into the league and played for the Columbus Crew in 2002 before signing with the Chicago Fire in 2007. Jon was with the San Jose Earthquakes from 2010 to 2014, but finishing his MLS career with a season with the Chicago Fire in 2015.. 
- Jon won Supporter's Shield in 2004 during his time with Columbus, and finished as 2nd all-time in Columbus for shutouts. 

- He is currently 3rd all-time in Chicago for nearly all GK stats, but first in save percentage and 2nd in goals against average.

- With San Jose, Busch recorded a league best and franchise record 138 saves during the 2014 season, finishing as 2nd all-time in shutouts.

"Busch finishes fourth all-time in MLS history in regular-season appearances (309); fourth in minutes (27,725); third in shots faced (1,577); fourth in saves (1,151); fifth in wins (113); and fourth in shutouts (83)." - from the MLS announcement of his one-day contract with Columbus Crew where Jon officially retired from soccer on May 12, 2018 as the Crew took on one of his other former clubs, the Chicago Fire.

Jon played in the FIFA U-17 World Championships in Japan in 1993, starting all four games the team played (3 group stage + quarterfinal game), where the team finished with a 1W - 1D - 2L record. More on his full national team experience below...

7. Honors/Awards
- MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and Best 11

Both of these awards happened for Jon during the 2008 season with the Chicago Fire.

8. Last competitive match – Date (if known) & Level of Play
- 2017

Jon's last competitive match (not counting the above mentioned "retirement" match) was a 2 - 2 draw with the Indy Eleven against North Carolina FC.

9. Position:
- Goalkeeper

10. Jersey number:
- 18 or 1

11. Coaching experience:
- US Youth National Teams, IUPUI Men's and Women's, and Indy Fire Juniors

In the past year, Jon has been asked to help the USMNT U-20 with Tab Ramos and the USMNT U-23 with Jason Kreis. Jon also routinely helps out with the national team youth team camps (think U-14, U-17, etc.). 

12. Refereeing experience:
- Zero

13. Most memorable moment(s):
- Winning the Open Cup in Columbus.  First MLS start.  First US National Team start.

- Winning the Open Cup in Columbus - Jon won the 2002 U.S. Open Cup in a 1 - 0 win against the L.A. Galaxy.

- First MLS start - April 27, 2002, a 1 - 0 win against D.C. United. Jon came on in the 59th minute in the previous game on April 20, 2002, in a 0 - 2 loss against New England. Jon split time with Tom Presthus throughout the season. However, according to the Columbus Crew's website for the 2002 season, here are the team's results during Jon's starts:
June 12 - 2 - 1 WIN vs New England
July 13 - 3 - 1 WIN vs D.C. United
July 20 - 1 - 1 DRAW vs Colorado Rapids
July 24 - 1 - 0 WIN vs D.C. United
July 27 - 2 - 1 WIN vs L.A. Galaxy
July 31 - 3 - 2 WIN vs Metro Stars
Aug 14 - 3 - 2 WIN vs L.A. Galaxy
Aug 18 - 4 - 0 WIN vs Kansas City Wizards
Aug 31 - 0 - 0 DRAW vs New England
Sept  7 - 3 - 4 LOSS vs San Jose
Sept 14 - 2 - 0 WIN vs Chicago Fire
Sept 22 - 1 - 2 LOSS vs Chicago Fire

That's a 9 W - 2 D - 2 L record if you weren't keeping track. Then the Crew won the Open Cup game against L.A. and that's how you become the starter going into the 2003 season.

- First USMNT start - Busch's first USMNT start also took place during his only cap for the United States, when the men's nationtal team, lead by Bruce Arena, defeated Colombia 3 -0 in a friendly on March 9, 2005. 

14. Least memorable moment(s):
- Tearing my ACL twice.

15. Favorite World Cup moment(s):
- Simply watching good goalkeeping at the highest level.

16. Favorite team(s)
- Liverpool ( trained there while in college)

17. Favorite Historical player:
- Peter Shilton or Shay Given

18. Favorite Current Player
- Ben Foster or Hugo Lloris

19. Indoor vs Outdoor:
- Outdoor

20. Grass vs Turf:
- Grass

21. Other sports played (and to what level):
- Hockey ( club )

22. Other Comments:

1 comment:

DC Cornelius said...

If you've been in contact with Jon, could you let me know how. Ive known Jon since he was in high school. I coached his sister and he helped. My daughter gave him some practice shooting at him. They ran John Bramley's (RIP) Albany Capitals soccer camp together. (She played for Joe Machnik in college)

My email is

Thank you