Somebody asked on another blog how we fell in love with soccer or as most in the world call it the beautiful game. Well…I’m an older gent. I fell in love with the beautiful game way before the MLS, MISL, NASL, and ESPN existed. I started playing back in 1968. At first it was only because my parents wouldn’t let me play football, american football. I was too short for basketball and Denver and Colorado didn’t have Major League Baseball….so all that was left was gymnastics and soccer. I chose soccer. Ever since that first practice until today I have loved and hated soccer all my life. I played club soccer before it was popular. I tried out for HS, but felt Club is where I needed to be. I went to watch the Denver Dynamo and the Colorado Caribu’s of the NASL play at the old Mile High Stadium. I had season tickets to the Denver Avalanche our MISL team. I even tried out for the Avalanche one year (yes it was a pipe dream, but you never know). I played in state tournaments, championships, and league play. I played on some of the best and worst fields Denver, the surrounding communities and the state of Colorado had to offer back in the 70s and 80s. But then something happened….at 22…I walked out to my club team’s practice one day and realized I was done….I didn’t care about playing any more, I didn’t care about watching anymore. I was burned out.
This was 1983. I didn’t really watch a game or go to exhibition games during this time, but it was in 1988 my first son was born. I didn’t buy him a mitt, a football, or a basketball, but a soccer ball. It was now my time to start teaching and watching, but most importantly falling in love with the beautiful game all over again. In 1990 my second son was born. By this time the older one started to run and kick the ball. He was interested in other sports…but there was something about soccer that drew him to it, he fell in love with the beautiful game. Once my second son was able to run….he had a passion for the game. He learned how to play while we lived in college housing, he was four at the time. The kids in the area wouldn’t put bases down, or bring the football out, they would put two shoes at one end of the grass and two at the other…bring out the ball and start playing soccer. He too, fell in love with the beautiful game. My last child and daughter was born 1995. When she was able to run….she too found the passion and she too, fell in love with the beautiful game.
But it was 1994 and the world cup, this got us all excited…because that is when they announced there would be this new league….Major League Soccer, and Colorado was going to get one of the first charter teams. The Rapids were born. In 1996, we bought jerseys and went to games. The green and Rapids Wave jerseys. Then came the blue and black ones…then the burgundy, the Colorado inspired blue color kit, and now the burgundy “C” kit. We have them all! All three of my kids played club and HS soccer. They each have their own specific talents in the game. All three could have played in college…but they felt there were more important things to do in life…but the constant was soccer.
I started coaching back in 1996. I started out in rec ball and eventually moved up to Premier level club soccer and did some assisting at the high school level. I also received my referee certification to do both youth and high school soccer. I even started playing in what we called an “Old Man’s” league. I had a great time playing again…until the knee decided it didn’t want to play any more…I was done playing. In 2011, when my daughter finished playing due to an injury, my time as a coach, referee, and player also ended. I wanted to do more in my life….
I moved around, to Ft. Collins, western Colorado, Central Coast California, and now I am finally back in the Denver area. I’ve probably spent too much on jerseys, scarfs, and tickets to the Rapids games over the years. My kids and I have our pictures with the players (when they used to do that at the old Mile High) and even have our picture taken with Marcelo Balboa at last September’s US v Mexico game in Columbus. But this year I was finally able to do something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time…buy season tickets to the Colorado Rapids.
So as you can see…soccer isn’t something I found by changing the the channel, or going to a different country…but something I found within me. For I have loved the beautiful game since 1968. Overall I have spent 31 years of life playing, coaching, and reffing soccer here in Colorado. I’ve been a fan of soccer for 47 years of my life and of the Rapids since their name and team was announced in 1995. But what has really made this special for me is the passion and love of the game I was able to instill in my players on the teams I coached throughout the years. But what is really special in my life, is giving this same passion and love for the beautiful game to my kids. All four of us go the games. We were there last Saturday all wrapped up and we will be there this Saturday and every game in the future, we are truly Rapids Till I Die fans. Come say hi, we are in 129 row 7…can’t miss the four of us, we are loud and supportive…cause we believe it, live it, and love it #ONECLUB !!