I love what I do. I wake up every day, for one, excited like a little kid, and I think everyone that follows me on social media can attest to that; but I also wake up very thankful for what God’s allowed me to do. There will have to be a post at another time explaining the meaning behind F.F.F. or faith, family, futbol. But I wouldn't be here today without God’s blessings and today I was lucky enough to receive a little one myself.
It’s a commonly tossed around phrase in the sports world, and a lot of people who know me know I like to jokingly say that “I do it for the kids.” While there is plenty of humor in the statement, it’s also genuinely true. Going back to what I said above about explaining the meaning behind F.F.F, family, the second F, simply put, means everything to me. I grew up the oldest of 5 in a family of 7, so it’s easy to see why my family means what they do. But it’s more than just my immediate family per say, it’s a entirely separate meaning in it’s own as well.
I grew up admiring tons of soccer players. Some I admired from the comfort of my family room couch, some, ashamed or not, I admired thru video games, some I got to watch personally at the professional level, some at the collegiate, high school, or even just a year above me at the club level. None the less, I can remember those players I looked up to. I can remember those who acknowledged me. Don’t get me wrong, there were many players who I briefly met or spoke with just once, and that still meant the world to me, but the players that expressed what appeared to be sincere interest in me, instead of themselves, was everything to me. I can remember feeling how cool it was to be able to know a professional soccer player. And if the player knew me, knew my name, wanted to get to know me, well, lets just say I pretty much felt like the coolest kid on the planet. Fast forward a decade or so, and I’m now in the shoes of the players that I used to dream about being. I try every day to give back. I try to be the player I imagined as a little kid. I try to…” do it for the kids.”
I had a fan, young dude, who I’ve had the pleasure of coaching at Battery camps during the summer the past season or two, who also comes to pretty much every home game, start to ask me at the beginning of season and pretty much every home game since for my jersey. Maybe its obvious, but almost everyone, especially youngsters ask for our jerseys after games. But I know little man, I've gotten to know little man, and after one game I asked him if he knew the next home game he was coming to and that I would have something for him. I couldn't get him a game worn jersey, but I wanted to get him something just as cool. I came home one day and found in a bin in my closet my first training top from my rookie year. Black drift top with number 54 I believe on the back. Wasn't anything crazy, but it was unique, it was one of a kind. It was something I honestly didn’t know I still had, I didn't wear it anymore, not to mention it was 2 sizes too small.
I walked out at our next home game with that top. I had one of the reserves place it under the bench and then after the game as we were making our way around to the fans, I surprised little man with his new top. I can’t begin trying to describe the excitement that swept over his face. It was a feeling unlike any other. I felt like a superhero. An unbelievably humbling and memorable experience.
Then there was today, hence this post. I walk into the locker room for training and found this…
Something so small, meaning so much.