Once upon a time, I was a pretty lethal striker on the soccer pitch. When I was about 9 or 10, I had something like 6 goals in one game. It’s a true story. You can ask my dad. He wouldn’t lie.
I ‘retired’ from the game when I was about 13, right before I tried out for my high school team. I ‘retired’ because I wanted to focus full time, year round, on the love of my life – basketball. My parents were pissed. My friends were confused and shocked.
Some have suggested that I would have been a better soccer player. Oh well… hindsight is a beautiful thing.
My greatest soccer memory was playing for the Needham Express while it made its run in the Massachusetts State soccer tournament (I believe we were playing in the under-13 group) out in Springfield, Massachusetts. It had to be about 1995.
Prior to our entry, I made a bet with my coach, Mr. Tom Day (he was a very good coach), that if we won the whole thing, he would have to shave his head (as I did before the tournament). Guess what…
We happened to win the entire tournament.
And who was the first player to take the clips to his head?
You bet. It was me.
I scored the winning goal – and only goal – in the championship game against the team from Danvers. It was a cross from the right-side of the pitch from Matt Chadwick. I was unmarked right in front of the goal and just headed the ball right in. It was the only goal of the game. We went bonkers.
It was also the only State Championship any of us ever won. If we only knew that at the time!
This picture was taken in the mid-1990s. I had to be about 12 years old. You can see how I small I was. To be honest, I was always much, much smaller than the rest of the chaps growing up. I didn’t hit my growth spurt until I was about 16 and I didn’t stop growing until I was about 22. I now stand at 6’1.
I look a bit like Mighty Mouse out there. Don’t you think?