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Goat Talk

Episode 11 · 1 year ago

Goat Talk Podcast 011 | Troy Dayak Interview (2 MLS Titles, San Jose Earthquakes, US National Team)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In episode 011 of Goat Talk, Alonso Frias interviews Troy Dayak, a two time MLS Cup Champion, 2001 MLS Comeback Player of the Year, US National and Olympic Team member, and President of West Coast Soccer Club in Tracy, CA. They discuss club soccer, sending players to college, coaching, his national team experience, playing alongside Landon Donovan at the San Jose Earthquakes, and owning a soccer store, among other topics.

#SanJoseEarthquakes #USMNT #MLS

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Welcome back everybody. This is episode eleven of Goat Talk. I'm your host, Alonzo Freues, and for this week's guest we're joined by Troy Dyek. He is a two time MLS Cup champion and hall of Famer for the San Jose earthquakes. He also represented the US national and Olympic team and now he's the president of West Coast Soccer Club here in Tracy, California. Well, Kame they doing nice too. Nice to be with the Alonso. So the first question I want to ask you is how has the COVID pandemic affected your club? Well, I think it's affected everyone in similar ways. I think it's just how do you let it impact you? Is something that we've done differently than most. There's, you know, obviously everyone's doing zoom meetings and, you know, changing to online training. Some people are not doing it and others are doing more than others. But for us we feel like we've been more together than we've ever been before, even though we're not, you know, seeing each other three four times a week and every every day, you know, every Saturday or Sunday have a game for league play. We're still really active. We've had team meetings with our parents and our players. So we spent some time, you know, instead of being out at practice fields that were normally we're taken those time frames and we've put them into scheduling parent meetings where we can actually speak with the parents and their players about what the future holds for them and soccer or what level they're currently at, what level we think that they can get to, what college is that they're interested in, what are their grades like? What do they need to get into a college at different levels? And C WAA one, one, D two, d three and see Naia Junior College eligibility, red shirt and gray shooting. We're just there's just a ton of things and, you know, instead of opening about not being able to practice and play, I think that we've taken a different energy towards it and we've we promoted things that we want to do with our kids that we've never ever been able to do, and I think it's been a great time for us to kind of innovate and it's something that you're looking forward to keep doing. Was You guys had that showcase last month in Utah? Is that something you guys are going to continue to do, since it looks like California isn't open to having tournaments right now. Yeah, we were. We're hoping, we're holding out to be able to do our regular tournament schedule. Normally during the summer months we're at the biggest tournaments in the country, you know, Surf Cup or Silver Lakes in Norco, California, and we decided to go ahead and put together a tournament here in Tracy, California at the new fields and tracy there's a brand new fields with lit you know, lighting around each field, and it's really Nice Park. So we're going to hold it here. We're going to do a GA Girls Academy showcase and that was going to be in October and then, you know, things just kept on get pushed back. We weren't getting any information about a month prior to that, I just off of a an instinct, I guess you might call it a natural instinct. I called up a company and also called up a facility in Utah and I reserved twelve fields out in Utah months ago, before before the you know, the pandemic started hitting really hard and people were we didn't know how long it is going to be. People are thinking we're going to be back on the field in November. So I just thought I'd hold that, you know, as a kind of a wild card in the back pock in case we needed it. And then once we yeah, once we found out we weren't going to, you know, be able to play on the soccer fields here and in Tracy, we had petitioned to try to, you know, do a safe environment, covid safe friendly environment without spectators. We were even going to close circuit TV all the game so that everyone could watch a games from at home or, you know, hotels for parents or or kids that were traveling and college coaches. So we ended up taking it to Utah and had a great event. We had thirty two soccer teams come from California. I think the majority of from California. Had A couple from Idaho, we had a couple from UTAH. We had, I think, one from Nevada and one from Wyoming. So we had, we hadn't mostly California's playing out in Utah safely. Everyone was faife and had a great event. Got To breathe fresh air because the California smoke and smog was all over the place and every now we're back home, something also I want to push to is that I know Salana soccer club here in Fairfield California. They also sent you seventeen boys team out to Arizona last month. So I know there's a lot of different club teams here locally who also trying to push that same message. Yeah, this was a little bit different because we had simultaneously we ran through our club, west coast soccer, we ran a survey and we surveyed all of our GA clubs that were playing and practicing...

...and we surveyed each DOC director to go back to their club and find out how many practices they held and how many, you know, gamelike scenarios or practice SC scenarios whatever, because we have teams are in Washington summer and Oregon and we wanted to know where they're at in their return to play procedure. Everyone's at different rate. So we did a survey with all of our our members and we had zero cases of covid transmitted through practices or any type of you know, activities trainings that we have done. We had, I think there were two cases that were related to like family stuff that were fourth of July or momorial day weekend, but we're quarantine and everything's going to say. So we kind of we did that test and that survey and then we felt comfortable about out, you know, pushing this. And this was the only tournament and in that was California based teams that were able to provide a tournament. So the term I was actually sanctioned by US club soccer and it was actually approved and ensured. So I think right now California is not allowing anyone to do that. So I think we're a little bit, you know, ahead of our time. The auntie of of the the group there and we're having some teams go down to Arizona for Thanksgiving and, you know, we're looking forward to seeing how they handle and set up their activities and games and stuff. So we'll see how that goes. Okay, and then something I also try to speak a lot about is I also coach high school soccer and my main thing too is trying to get players to go play in college or even a ten college. And if that, and I seen your interview with Tracy Press, you stated that you were the number one through north count and sending players to college on scholarships. Can you explain why that's important? Yeah, that's a great question. You know, a lot of times people think there's just a recruiting machine, you know, they just grab all the best players and snatch and grab them. We've we've thought a little bit differently. We've we started our club with only three teams and two thousand and eleven and we built our club slowly, progressively with, I think, a business plan in mine as far as how we want to grow, not over grow too fast, not, you know, to pack up too many fields and, you know, be to like a noisy neighbor. We've, I think, constructed a really good plan and we've had the quality coaching to go along with it and then the players just developed really well. We're not that club that's going to recruit a ton of players from from the surrounding area. We start off with three teams. Now, ten years later, I think we're at twenty two teams, twenty three teams. So the our first recruiting year was in two thousand and thirteen was our first class of commits and we had eleven players, all graduate, that went to college that that year. So all of our players that were seniors that year went off to college and I think that set the the standard and kind of blaze the Trell the hard work that they put in, the commitment that they put in. They had won a national we won a national championship, and that two thousand and eleven year. So you know, it was really a lot of hard work. We actually took that team up to Napa and trained at a cabin and NAPPA, you know, pre national championship and they went to the national final three times in a row. Two Thousand and eleven, two thousand and twelve and two thousand and thirteen. They played in the finals each one of those years and one it in two thousand and eleven, was finalist in two thousand and twelve and thirteen, and that set a really high standard. So we you know, that was one of our oldest teams. We kind of worked our way backwards because we had a we had a WPSL team and our WSL team was made up of professionals and, you know, former players, college players, and then I started working in some of the youth players from our program because we had a really good team. We had national champions, we had players that were capable of doing great things, so that that team basically was the forefront and forerunner of our first ever WPSL. I think ever in WPSL history we had every single player in our club was from our club that actually developed, went through our club, played in our club with a was a youth member, past or current player in our club. So we didn't have any outside help. I thought that was a really unique thing for us to build off of and I think people, you know, saw the hard work of dedication to our own club members and developing our own players. You know, and I think that you know, led to more players wanted to go to college and plays in that trail we have. Think we're over a hundred and fifteen players now off to college on scholarship and we just we're five years, I think six years in the row or Northern California highest club on the girl's side. It's been in the in their reports and stuff for Players Committee to college.

So we're proud of that. And you think so? You think players would focus more on club soccer compared to high school soccer in terms of they want to play in college? It's another good question. Without hurting some of my high school friends feelings, I'm done. I've done both and there's there's good, good things and bad things about high school soccer. You know, it's a great social activity, especially on the girl's side. They really love being a part of their school, their school pride, their team pride, and representing their their school colors. I think we're where the line gets drawn is that there's not very many college coaches are going to go to a high school game and watch right. So, unless you make plays and are playing like at that higher level. Yeah, how are you going to promote your kids? And, to be honest with you, all my college coach friends they they may go watch like the final of the NCS or, you know, one of the finals, because they know too high quality teams or the best two teams are going to play it out in the finals and you'll see good players, but not all the time. Do you have in high school? You get kind of what you get at your school, right, so you have you have players that may be out there just to be there for social aspects and be a part of a team, part of a school program, but might not necessarily be the best players in the area. So I think college coaches are more geared to go into college showcases and they're you know, they're going to spend most of their time looking at the players at college showcases that are put on by the clubs. And then something else I want to add on to is that a lot of poem with the youth, I feel like, is the whole drug youth and Alcohol Youth. I feel like it's preventing them from playing in sports. And I know you helped implement one of the programs, drugs are a drag. So how do you also see that perspective from that side? Yeah, I just you know, everyone's different. I never used sports performance enhancements or drugs. Still don't, and I just I'm a big believer and keeping your body clean you treated like a temple and it'll serve you back well. So you know, we did start a drugs soccers a kick, drugs are drag program and we went around to schools and did assemblies. I did this a lot with our professional team, that the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks, many, many years ago, and I think we establish a really good community outreach program. We went to, we limit everywhere, junior high school, high schools, elementary schools, you know, grade schools, and we just did assemblies all summer long and it kept kept a lot of our players busy or that that summer break and it kept kept us, you know, in contact with the local community and it really built great relationships. So and it was a strong message. So you have athletes that are believing in, you know, staying away from bad substances and drugs and a views and stuff like that. And we did a nice little speech and we did demonstrations, we brought up school teachers, principles and kids and then we'd hand out some soccer balls, mini balls, depending on what we had for for that that year. But it was a great, great event. I've carried that on since, you know, retiring. I do a program for schools locally and I'll pick maybe two or three a year and I'll do do a few during the summer and maybe during their their no drugs campaign week at school, I'll try to hit up a couple schools there and offer offer this program. It's been great. That's great. That's amazing. Something I also like like to push. I've also never, I've never drank, I've never done any type of substance, and I try to push that too, because I feel like it becaus became like normalized and I feel like that also prevents your body from reaching that peak, that peak of like being able to perform at a really high level. Well, it's that's a whole nother topic. I mean, you know, people will always push what they can push to the highest limit legally right. So even in Europe, when you go I did my master's for soccer. I took a master's course and it was a part of a two year course and we went over to England study at the University of London and went to Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham and we basically did a long study period and there's a lot of sports performance enhancements that some of these large clubs are kind of just cheatering on the line of, you know, is it too much? Is I was I was amazed. I had no idea because I never have done anything like that. But you know, certainly the bad drugs in different things. You know, we want to make sure that message gets sent out to the kids, the youth, kids, youth program when they get to the pro levels. You know, the they have scientists and people that are really run in the...

...programs and making sure that they're staying within the guidelines and the law. So interesting stuff. Yeah, of course, and then something I want to last talk about on the club wise. Do you think there's too many club teams in California? I don't. California is like one of the most popularized states in the country, but you still think there's too many club teams? Yes, I think so. I mean there's I just I think that there should be tears of Club, club teams that you know what you're getting from them and they're they're proven right. So if you have a proven track record, if you have, you know, a certain amount of kids that are going off to college every single year and you have quality soccer teams throughout your age groups, whether it's on the boy side or the girls side, I think that there should be a standardized, you know, metrics were club teams can be measured by, because a lot of times it's just propaganda and what you know people will say without having anything to back it up. That gets these kids to go different places and then you're diluting the soccer pool, you're diluting the talent. How how is our national team going to get better and how are high school teams going to get better and her top level club teams going to get better if we're not really attracting the best players to go to the best teams with the best coaches. Yeah, that I talked about with Cardinal, that about coaching college to how he's notices. There's so many like even so like Fairfield is so close to Vacaville and they have like their own club teams too. So it all gets like watered down. There's people who aren't playing at a high level playing club and getting these opportunities, but it's not getting like it's not getting any better. There's not. They're not sending players out to college or they're not sending players to that professional level. Well, I can tell you this. In my daily routine at the office since Covid I try to talk to at least two to three college coaches in person every day, or you know you you know three or four times a week. So I'm I'm pushing that level. It's not just the kids going out and say I want to play in college. So I just challenge what are the the college what are the club coaches doing for their player? They are they really promoting them? Are they reaching out to college coaches and saying, Hey, I got a perfect person that fits within your program and here's why. You know you can if you don't have your evaluations of your players and you don't know where your players are at, whether there are adne and and that's okay, if they're not done their junior college, are able. There's a ton of great opportunities for kids to play and junior college. Man, there's there's so many great junior college programs that have awesome programs with great coaches and it's a wonderful pathway. So not every kids going to play. Do you want to go to Stamford or UNC? Yeah, so the college that the club coaches have to know the difference between those level. What's the difference between a junior college player and a player that's going to UNC or Stanford? The difference is, you know, UNC's one hundred and twenty six national championships and has a coach that's, you know, been world one now and as far as the national team coach Olympics, you know, just you know, creating great players. And then you have, you know, junior colleges that are should be a spring board to help kids, you know, get used to playing every day practice and every day, you know, getting their studies done, being able to manage their lives with a school work, school load and soccer or sport load and be able to function properly so that when they do transfer to a four year school, whether it's a d one, d two or d three or an AIA, you know what you're in for. There's not everyone's going to be ready to jump right from, you know, high school to College, college level, especially D one level. And speaking about college soccer, you attended USF. Is that in your plans in the future? COACHING USF? They've had a couple bad seasons recently they went oh and seven and last year in the conference have had a positive seasons. Is Two thousand and seventeen? Is that something in your future and maybe you might have to promote that and see what kind of what kind of bud yet I don't know. It's it. I would. I Love Coaching. So for me I like this youth level where I can direct kids and influence them in the right way, in a positive manner, share my experiences with them. Like today, tonight, we have we have a Friday night highlights every Friday all my players for the Ga. They have to be on its mandatory for a zoom meeting like this. So tonight at five o'clock we're watching UNC play. You, UVA, University of Virginia, versus UNC. It's one of the top games that you can see right now for colle soccer. If our girls are wanting to play soccer, you need to watch soccer at the highest level. So we're watching their game live, their games at five o'clock. And if coaches aren't promoting that to their players and digging deep to find these things to keep them active and keep them spirited, they'll burn out. You know, a lot of the colleges they're not able to play right now and they're...

...telling me that their kids it's tough to motivate them to come back and play because they're not sure what they want to do for the rest of their lives. You know, they are they going to move on now, especially their seniors, at have this extra year of eligibility. You know, are they motivated enough to come back? That's it isn't I need to take advantage of that extra year of being able to play college sports. That's and not feel like a lot of people also don't know that, like a lot of people are players in college. Yeah, it's this is an extra year for them. They miss their year because of the pandemic and they having a year extra on their eligibility if they want to go back. But you know, what's called soccer going to look like when we come back? That's another thing. You have to think ahead. I'm you know, for me, I went to college for one year, University of San Francisco. I played college soccer, I enjoyed I enjoyed it, but the pros came after me early. They came after me and said, Hey, we want you to come out of college and we want you to play professionally. And I was seventeen years old. Yes, so what do you do at that stage when the pros are calling you, do you make a decision? So I was a first player in the history that had a college trust fund set up. So I had a five year contract to play for the San Francisco Bay block hawks as a seventeen year old, to come out of college, which I had a scholarship, you know, free full ride to your university, San Francisco, and now I'm going to come out of college. But my dad said, I want you to be able to have your education. So what, what are we going to do about that? So we worked into the contract that there was a untouchable College Education Fund, Trust Fund set up that if I wanted to go back to college and use that funds, that I would normally need to be able to play and call her go to college, that that would be there. So later down the road that's what I used to get my masters. I use that College Trust Fund to go and get my masters in coaching soccer. That's what I wanted to do and sometimes when you're a young kid you don't know what you want to do and you're only enough, bast of, strong enough and good enough to play professionally for a certain amount of time. So I chose to come out of college, but I had a backup plan, you know, afterwards. So, yeah, something I want to see. You had that plan coming forward. So you play for the black cogs for a couple years. You played in the indoor leagues. To that some cow I feel like, disappeared in a way, like professional indoor. You think that can make a comeback? You played there early on your career, in one thousand nine hundred and ninety three. You think that could possibly be in the future? Yeah, I mean his toff, because you know indoor activities are going to be a lot different than outdoor activities and to come back and play indoors you know where people are, close environment and you know a lot closer touching, you know the boards and different things like that. I think the game is going to be a lot different here this this next year, two thousand and twenty one. You know, it's all going to depend on how everyone comes out of this winter with, you know, the coronavirus and the cold and flu season and all that stuff. But I think indoors a great game. I loved it, I enjoyed it. It's it's very difficult to kind of transition. I think that it's easier for me as an outdoor player to transition into an indoor player. For me personally, I think it's harder for indoor players to transition into an outdoor professional. That's just from my experience with all the players that I played with and against. I played in the Olympics and when I came back from the Olympics the Black Hawks were trying to put together a first division team to play in Mexico and the League had folded at the APSL at that stage we just went to national championships with, you know, a as a young player with the a league, and then now of a sudden we don't have a league. So I went to play indoor soccer and Cleveland, Ohio. So I'm a country, you know, California boy, and now I'm living in Cleveland, Ohioio, thirty three degrees below zero next to Lake Erie, and I was like, Whoa, this is crazy. I'm living in like the Tundra, you know, so cool. So I wasn't used to that, but Ivan was great. It was a great experience for me as a young young man. We wanted a world championship, Indoor World Championship there, so I enjoyed that. But then it gave me experience to come back and kind of manage a team here. When the grizzlies kind of came up and we're looking for a coach, I decided to kind of get my feet wet with that and and I learned a lot from that. I learned how to do Green Card transfers, European transfers, work permits. In fact, our national team coach now of Lot Gand and Oski, used to play for me and I helped him get his work visa and everything from overseas to play professional indoor soccer, where he made a great name for himself. So I learned a lot from from all my experiences. Yeah, and I feel like you were there throughout, like the whole beginning process of the US national team in US soccer. So in one thousand nine hundred and ninety it was the first time the US went to a World Cup and forty years and you debuted that same year after the...

World Cup. So tell me first, I want to talk about to what were you going through emotionally on September fifteen, one thousand nine hundred and ninety against Trinidad, your debut with the national team? Yeah, I mean that's man, you're digging deep now, that's that's a long time ago. You remember that what you were getting? Oh yeah, yeah, now, there's no doubt about it. I mean when we when we went to Trinidad, it was a complete different world. There was, you know, there was music being played out of our our hotel window. I remember, you know, sleeping on the the fourth floor, fifth floor, and there is actual actually drums going on outside of our window until one, two, three o'clock in the morning and you know, we called down the front desk said, Hey, what's going on? Can we get? We get these guys to stop, you know, banging their drums. But that's how important soccer is to different culture, right. As an American, you don't really see that and in nineteen s certainly didn't see that unless you're on a national team traveling around the world, right. So it was very interesting to see and be a part of that group where the culture like they were doing whatever they could to make an advantage for their team. They're keeping US up until two, three, four o'clock in the morning, you know, playing the drums outside of our windows. It was nuts and, you know, you had to go and play and excruciating heat that you're not really used to. Different environment. Fields were, you know, not nearly as nice as the ones that, you know, we're used to. That's, you know, all these experiences that I that I have over the years, you know, helped me defind me as a player and as a person and to understand that there's different, you know, cultures of soccer players out there. It's a it's a really unique, eclectic group of passionate people. When I retired in two thousand and six, I actually went to when I retire. I went to Germany and I watched the World Cup and I went and traveled around to like four different venues and just as a fan, I was like enthralled but how cool it was to be a soccer fan, and that's when I knew, you know, I didn't know this as a player, but you know fans, you know, people like yourself that really follow the spot and and people that study it and they have their favorite players and they got player cards and stuff like that. Soccer players don't realize how important they are to those people until you're retired and you go see it for yourself. You kind of like in that that boiling pot. You just don't realize that it's boiling. It's just it's so immersive of culture and people love their national team members. So that was a great experience. Yeah, something I've also one that I was going to discuss with you as the culture wise to so you went to Barcelona one thousand nine hundred and ninety two for the Olympics. How do you compare their love and culture for soccer compared to the US? Yeah, I mean I we didn't even know Barcelona as Barcelona back then, right. I mean as a kid, is a teenager playing with you were twenty one at the time, right playing? Yeah, I would. I was on the national team when I was fourteen years old. So I was a first time that I played, you know, with the national team. Went to spart Stanford Stadium and the USA was playing China or Russia, I think. So that was my first time and then I started traveling with all the youth national teams, played in all the junior world cups and then the ninety two Olympics was something that I was really I was very keen to growing up as a person, wanting to be an Olympic athlete. That was my goal. I was my top goal on my chart, you know, if I had a chart that I made and I looked at every week, that was my top goals to be an Olympic athlete. So being there as a young man and you have all these great countries that are playing and you're looking at Barcelona as, you know, place to play it at, you don't really think about it because Barcelona, you know, the team Barcelona, was never that big back then. I mean they were always a giant and soccer, but it wasn't really broadcasted to American viewers. We never had, you know, all the channels to watch. We didn't have, you know, Fox soccer, we didn't have, you know, easy access to watch it online. So, you know, Barcelona was was really not even close to being a household name in Americans soccer fans mine. So to be there and be a part of that before Barcelona became Arcelona, you know, it's a big thing to be, you know, traveling up and down the streets as are Goss as a young man and walking into the Olympic Village with all the best athletes in the world. You know, at one place, you know, I we went to cafeteria for for lunch and I remember we're watching the Olympics, had TV's on the the walls and we were watching I think the track and field and Michael Johnson, I think it, won, you know, like a couple of gold medals or something in one of the sprints and and about an hour later,...

...as we're coming out of cafeteria, he was just getting off the Olympic bus with the gold medal around his neck and I was like, Whoa, this is real. This guy just watched this guy winning gold medal on TV and now I'm standing next to him at the cafeteria at the Olympic Village and then, you know, you had Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Dominic Wilkins. The Dream Team was there, with all those great basketball players, Shannon Miller, Dominique Dawes, all those little gymnasts that were so, you know, unique to American gymnasts that when they won the Glod metals they were our next door neighbors in our dorm. So they're around us all the time. It was quite amazing and that's something to I wanted to point out that the nights night to Olympics was the first Olympics where they changed the format to under twenty three s for soccer, and so I feel like that really helped a lot to to develop all these young players. It's being into moving up in the ranks. If I could say, yeah, you did your homework there. So yeah, was and you're allowed to have, I think, two players on the team that were we're senior members, so you can have to you know, and I thought that was cool too, because each team had, you know, a big time player. If you're playing against a national team player like Stutchkoff or somebody you know big time on the opposed on the little winner. Yeah, it was. It was a it was interesting because I think that that really brought light to the next generation of national team World Cup veterans. And we had a lot of really good players on that team that went on and did great things and and their future careers and MLS and overseas. Crazy color, bradfew, creedle, you know, some wonderful names of soccer, cloudy Arena, and then Alexel last to a part of that. Audio rain. Yeah, son now is is kicking daurings. Yeah, I'm a big Claudio Fan as a player. He was an amazing young player on our team and you know, those are the guys that inspired the next generation of Landon Donovans and, you know, the next generation after that too. And then you were part of the very first MLS draft in one thousand nine hundred and ninety six. So how do you think? Do you think the format now is better than the one that was back then in terms of the draft? I think it was just a matter of convenience of what we were able to do back then. You know, we didn't have the easy access to some of these major sports for facilities that you can go to. So we had to get together and do a national combine. So all the players that wanted to play in the MLS, since there was there wasn't our league yet, we had to go to a combine and you had to basically try out in front of all these professional coaches. So each professional team had their coach and the coaching staff and we actually went and train there for a week and trained and they watched US play and then they offered. Then we went into the draft. So it's different. Now we have a lot of a lot more access to videos. You have footage for highlight reels, you have a league, you know games going on, you have, you know, USL Games, you have college games that you can see on TV. So it was a totally different time period. It's a lot easier now, I think, to recruit players and back then you had to have a good eye and you had to actually travel and be there and be a part of the combine. And I want to ask to this might be kind of, I don't know, somewhat personal, but you were drafted by the Metro Stars. So what was the main reason you refuse to sign with them? At which ended up you being traded to the sound was a clash which is now the sounds the earthquakes. Yeah, that's a good triviut question. I was a first player in MLS history traded and basically I had a had started a family, had a one year old daughter, my daughter a diary and I just didn't feel like uprooting my family from California. I love being here. I played my entire career up to that point, you know, as a young professional, coming out of college and playing pro a seventeen years old and playing through, you know, the Black Hawks and having a great fan base out here. I just I didn't think that it was time for me to uproot my family and although I respected their opinion on drafted me so high. I think I was dropped in like nineteen overall pick or something like that. Yeah, in the country. I just, you know, I told the coach. I never forget he called up say hey, we're really excited, we want you to come to New York and I was like man, I are, and yeah, I can't be in herving cowboy, you know, I got to be out in my my neck of the wood. So I think he was really Ralph Perez was he was the the assistant coach there and he was very understanding. He's the one, I think, that drafted me, and back then you had no idea where you're going to go, you just you had to go, and I know I probably got a little bit of stick from the US soccer, but I've always just been my own person and do what I feel as best for me and my family.

And subsequently I was the first player ever traded, traded back to San Jose for, I think, rhet hardy and another player, two players, and played my career, my whole career, right here in my back yard. So that's just what I've wanted to do and I stuck by it. And something also want to ask. Out of the too mls cups, you one I've I think, my prediction. I think maybe the two doozen one was more important to you or stands out when your career more compared to the ones that thou three. Would you agree? Oh yeah, that was Cinderellier, I call it. That was I'd been injured, major catastrophic injury with my neck. I was nearly paralyzed and he came they told you would never play again, right, is that? Ye? Yeah, it's true. The doctor said I've never play again. They they said I was done. And basically I was out of soccer for over a year and I went back in and they had just did a routine, you know, check on my neck. You can probably see it here. It's they cut me open there, took a bone out of my hip and insert it in there and was supposed to fuse all the way around. It didn't fuse for the first four months and they said if it doesn't fuse after six months, you're pretty much never going to be cleared to play, especially at contacts for where you're head in the ball. And it got to a point where, you know, I was written off and everyone kind of wrote me off from ever playing again. He's done. And I just worked really hard. I had a you know, a good trainer and Bruce Morgan, and I was doing that exercises, strength and exercise. I had a bone stimulator on, you know, that was wearing. I was doing everything I could to get back and healthy and it just wasn't wasn't healing and fusing all the way around. So, you know, they were thinking it might have been a problem with the fuse. But after a routine visit after a year later the doctor came running out with the x ray saying it's fuse. It's cute, like, was that me? And he said well, you can go back and play soccer legally if you want. So once the the dominant kneer, had heard about that and Frank Gallup. They they called me. I was in Reno, Nevada, and I'm never forget. We're up there at the family event and they called me said Hey, we'd like you to come try out again for the earthquakes and which was a clashback then, I think. Or I'm not sure. Who are the they were the earthquake still. So I said, heck yeah, I'll be there on Monday. So I went that night. I remember I got out of here. Was a Saturday or Friday or something. I went training in the snow, just running the snow like Rocky Siberia. I don't know where it was, but it was snow up to my knees, running trying to get healthy and get fit. And you know, soccer fit, because soccer fits a total different fitness. And then you wont you want that year MLS come back player of the year. Yeah, even before that it was. It was more difficult because I went back in the game of change. That time everyone was playing man mark and I was a man marker. So if Dwhite York came to town, I marked him. These tour Dak you marked White York. You take that guy and you don't let him score. That was my job. All over the field. If he went, if he went into the bathrooms, I'm handing a tissue. You know, it's that's how close I had to mark my players. Now, tight I was on them, you know. So for me the game had changed into his zonal back for here we were sweeper, stopper and I was a man marker, a destroyer. Now I had to learn how to play a zonal system, of of pressure, cover, balance and communication. Was a lot more difficult to than people realize, because when you're when you're physical with somebody, you get tight with them, you can track them down, you can intimidate them, you can dominate them. When you're in a zone system, you have to take care of your own and take care of your partner around you. So you have to change your whole outlook as a player. So it was a unique transfer transition for me. And then I had the hard situation with the League. Then molest didn't want to sign me because I was drafted like number nineteen and and the first round of major league soccer, and now they only wanted to offer me a contract like a rookie. So I was one of the top players in the the country before I was injured and now coming back, they wanted to pay me a rookie salary because I was a liability. So that was a difficult thing. I signed my contract with major league soccer or the day before we played La Galaxy and I played in that Rose Bowl game that next day and I scored a goal with my head off a corner kick and I was just running around, jumped on the stadium, you know, Wall on was like shaking my fist. Just proven the doctors wrong, proven I one that said I wouldn't be able to do it and all the road blocks that they threw in front of me, and I think that's kind of been my mindset, is just a continue to prove people wrong. So the next game was a home game at Spartan Stadium. I scored another goal off of volley, off a free kick, and score the first home goal of the year. That year, two thousand and one Spartan Stadium and then I got to captain the All Star Team. Is Captain of the two thousand one all star team with, you know, so many great players. That was an honor. And then we won. Then,...

...actually before that, I scored a goal with my head against Miami fusion and that that basically that goal right there. It was going to be between us and Miami who was going to be dismantled for a major league soccer. They were deciding one team was going to be, you know, gone next year. So we went on to win the National Championship after I scored the overtime goal there and we won the national championship and I was like the cap of the kind of the Cinderella year. And that's when the whole golden goal thing was still around, because now you don't that doesn't exist anymore in soccer. Yeah, it was. It was great, man. It was such a great feeling and, you know, just a great year overall. It was. You know, I had a bunch of honors that comeback. Player of the year was was an amazing honor to be a part of that. The the earthquakes chose me to go down and be a part of the referees procedure where the referees do all their testing and stuff. I thought that was awesome. I got to be at the SP awards that year with all these great athletes and stuff. I thought that was amazing. It's just really was. If you if you can categorize a special year, I was that was an amazing year because then you also that was a landon down events rookie, your tooth. What was it like seeing him grow up to the ranks as he became, I don't know, arguably the best us player of all the time? You you were played with him in his rookie year. So how was that like? Yeah, well, interesting story, and this true story. Frank Gallop, he was our coach and he said, listen, I've got this young kid and I want you and jeff a used to take care of him, and he put them right. We had our own corner of our of our locker room. We had a corner. I had two lockers and then Jeff Agus had two lockers and there was like one locker room between us. So coach Olut put land and on and right in between us and we had kind of our own like corner and he goes, I want you to take care of this young kid. He's specially is going to be special. So we took it very serious, you know, about looking after him. You know, he's a man now, so I'm sure you know he's gone through his stuff. But after the after the All Star game, I took him up to my cabin and like bury Essa up that way near Napa, and we went out on the boat and we're hanging out and landing was being a land and, you know, Young Kid, young teenager, and had a settim in his place a couple times, you know, just doing what mentors and senior players would do, and I think he gained respect for for me during that time period because I was kind of a no nonsense guy and I gained some respect for him because, you know, he was blazing a new trail for American soccer players. Is probably our first million millionaire soccer player that, you know, had a huge endorsement deal. He had Nike cleat stacked up on top of his locker as far as you can get it to the ceiling and he pretty much would, you know, wear a pair of Nike vapors and throw them away, you know, and next week and try a different color, different pair on. It was like nothing anyone had ever seen before. The buses people were screaming, you know, William Marry me, and signs and you know, doing stuff that you know a young superstar would get that kind of recognition. So it was it was amazing to be a part of that. I remember he would call me for advice when he got on two different platforms and different social media things back then, and then one day called and said, Hey, what do you think? What do you think I should do? And I go what do you got going on? And so I'm I'm going to be on the David Letterman show and the tonight show. And I was like, do your way, your way, pass anything. US normal guys have been at this stage. You're at a different level kids, so just be humble. Is What my advice was. And you know, I think he's done a good job of representing himself during our stage and during my time of over overseeing him. So it's fun because then that final two you guys put against the galaxy. We also had like Louis and what a lottle Nune this which is like a Mexican legend, and you guys ended up beating that. I feel like they were stacked. That had a good dad, Kobe Jones. Yeah, they had like a stack team. You guys were able to win. I mean that those the La Galaxy. No doubt about it. If you put if you put both teams on paper next to each other side by side, nine times out of ten everyone would choose that La Galaxy team with the stars that they had on it. But I think that's what made us unique, because that we had a bunch of blue collar guys like like myself, and we had a young, you know kid that wanted to be a superstar and we had, you know, dwayne Di Rozario that was coming on the scene. He was also one of my roommates on the road. So I think frank did an amazing job of placing young players with veteran players to, you know, kind of just keep an eye on to make sure that they're they're feeling welcome. We always made our players feel welcome. If you failed on our team, it wasn't because of one of the older players of egroom players weren't passing the ball or didn't didn't want to play with you, or jealous or anything. It...

...was it was all about team. So if you look at our team you'd probably can't name a bunch of superstars on it like the La Galaxy had, but you know, we were able to win two national championships a supporter shield in two thousand and five and I think, you know, nobody would have probably we were in last place when I was out in two thousand for that year. The team when I came into it on two thousand and one, that we were last place in two thousand. Then the year I came back with Jeff a goose and land in and different, you know, different players came on the scene, went from worst to first, which was kind of an unheard of thing. You know, it's something I feel like I want to ask to did you deal with like stress during your career, because I know you also, while you were playing, you're also getting your coaching license. And then you mentioned your daughter earlier. You would fly, you would post for you would schedule her games on Sunday afternoon so you'd have time to fly back and coach those games. So you weren't you were dealing with like stress during all this, like playing, coaching, having to fly back and forth. Now I think you know I think anxiety is a lot more prevalent these days and they were back in the day. You know, we were just playing soccer, we were just out there balling it. If I can get home seeing my kid and coach my kid on Sunday, I would. I would do whatever I could to get home to do that. That was just our lifestyle. You know, if we had to go and do you know, thirty appearances during the summer months, we would do that as young soccer players to kind of network the community. You get that community involvement. You know, times are changed. You know, it's a good thing. Everything changes and ebbs and flows and things come and go, but I think that's one thing that is missing, is that that current, you know, connection to relationship between the fans and the players that we had was pretty amazing. Or Spartan Stadium was amazing place to play event. If anyone was at the game that we came back and we were down four goals and Aggregatel like galaxy. We came back and beat them five to four and Spartan Stadium scored five unanswered goals to move on to the National Championship. In two thousand and three that's considered the greatest game in MLS history is what they touted it, and if anyone was there at that game they'll tell you that energy create a lot of great fans for the future. And then something also you did after soccer that we I've talked about it on the podcast, is that there's a lot of players going into media after the careers. So what was your experience like in two thousand and eight working for a CSN doing the broadcasting for the earthquakes? Did you find it hard? Did you find it easy? When I retired, I decided that I wanted to go after my coaching career and also, you know, continue that pathway of staying involved with soccer, and it just came and became an opportunity for me. I think the media person, Jed Maddie, for the earthquakes asked if I wanted to do it and I really I enjoyed it, I loved it. I love traveling with team and going in to do preparation for Game Day, you know, reading all the stats of the opposing team, reading over the the soccer buyos of players. As a soccer fan, you have to know your teams, you have to understand what they're doing and not just understand the game and kind of, you know, relay that to the modern TV watcher or game sports fan. You have to be able to, you know, portray that in a sensible way that makes sense to to somebody that may have not played in the Olympics or the World Cup or professional so I think, you know, that was kind of a challenge there. I really enjoyed traveling with the team and going to different stadiums as a as a broadcaster instead of a player. It's a completely different mindset. Like those of you that are thinking about getting into broadcasting, it's a completely different thing than being an athlete. Preparing for a game. As an athlete, compared to preparing as a broadcaster, you're really you're kind of stimulating your brain with the Game Day packet. You're going over all the stats, you're going over what they did last week, you're watching video clips of the players, you're coming up with ideas that you think would be good for, you know, the game that you want to talk about during the game and then you obviously have to show passion. I think as a broadcaster that you enjoy the game yourself. So the earthquakes at that time weren't doing great. So it was tough for me to, you know, to portray that passion because I'm a very passionate person about the game and I'm passionate about the earthquakes, trying true blue, you know, earthquakes through and through. And it's tough when your team's not doing well because you want to say great things about the team and about the play, but when it's not going well it's kind of you know, you're not really going to talk much about them doing bad or poor right. So it was it was a challenge that that couple of years and then ultimately the masters opportunity came up for me to go overseas and I couldn't really do the master's program as a as a coach...

...and go through that process and do the traveling for broadcasting the same time. So I opted to go and track down my masters and coaching. Was that something you always plan to do after soccer? Yeah, I think it was. You know, the team and move to the team and move to Dallas, right. So they moved to Texas and Houston and I just I was at that stage where I had probably my ninth or ten surgery. I blew out both my knees before playing. I've had sports hernia. My first one was chasing Kobe at Kobe Jones around in the Rose Bowl. I blew out my my sports hurning it there and I've had a lot of surgeries, ankle surgery and the Olympics, and I was at that stage where, you know, I was wanting to, you know, continue to do soccer, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to move and uproot the family again. So it's kind of a fitting that my end of my career was pretty much the same decision as the beginning of my career. I decided not to move on to Houston. I still had two years left on my contract and I decided to you know, it's time for me to I've done everything I wanted to do and soccer and I've accomplished all the goals. I left a lot of DNA across the country of different fields and diffront venues and I just felt it was time for me to start my next thirty years. So I decided to continue to go after my coaching license, get my masters in coaching and Start Club. So I started west coast soccer and started my own soccer business called Baxton sports where we do uniforms and soccer store, different uniforms for different sports and mainly soccer stuff. Yes, that's also I'm going to ask you too. So you have that small, little small business and we've seen to how COVID has affect a lot of small businesses. So how have you built with it in your soccer store? Yeah, once again, I think everything changes, right. You go from people coming in with foot traffic, trying on shoes and trying on cleats and looking at the next you know, vapors and next Adidas that are coming out and they want to see the Pooma kings, you know, and they want, you know, kangaroo Copas, and you go from that, we're people are coming in all the time, to nobody coming in. And I think we've prepared ourselves properly. I've always been, I think, you know, looking forward to the future and I always wanted to do online. So we do. We switched over to online. We have a full, you know, access to online product and we do a lot of online orders through our store. We kind of reduced our show room. We had a big warehouse where we actually built it out with a show room with all the cleats and different things you can try on and we made it into a smaller show room. So we kind of down scale from there and we were really up in our club activity as far as our school contacts and different things that we're doing. Unable to do online. So I think it's just, you know, everyone's doing stuff online Amazon. You know, it's become a huge deal for things. So you know, you just have to change with the Times. You can't get left behind. Yeah, I agree. Speaking more current times, what chance did you give the earthquakes this season? They made the playoffs. Are Playing Kansas City November twenty two. How far do you think they're going to get in the playoffs? Hey, I'm going to tell you, man. It doesn't matter what you did during the season and matters what you're doing at the end of the season when you're rolling into playoffs. So if you're hot, look out, man. If they're if they're playing good right now and they're on a roll, anything can happen. You know, it really doesn't. It doesn't matter. The way that this is set up, and I think it's locked on. said it said it best the way that you know major league soccer set up. It's not really set up like it is overseas, where you play all these games and the team that's won the most standing at the end. Right. Yeah, from United States, you get, you make it into the playoffs and anything can happen. You can have injuries, you can have weather, you can have fuel conditions, you can have, you know, players sick, you can I mean it's just anything can happen in the playoffs. So I give them as good of a chance as anyone else. I know I was on there that they have me do the starting eleven lineup the day that they played, I think, the La Galaxy, and that was their turnaround. I think they tied that game and they started winning games after that. So I'm hoping that I got a little bit of a earthquake in nostalgia, you know, vibes going fan and then also two with the US. Now, just to close out the US national team having those roster of only players in Europe, except for Sebastian Legget, who took just chargent's place. Do you think that's the way the US national team should go about it from now on, having only players from Europe, or I should they have both mls and Europe now. I think it should be both. I mean, you have like for me, I was offered a opportunity to go overseas and play and,...

...you know, call me silly or call me stupid or call me naive, I just didn't. I felt like California is where I've always wanted to live. You know, I didn't want to go and live in another country. I didn't want to go and start a family in a different country and have my kids and my wife and family and friends, you know, all uproot and and not be a part of it just to track down, you know, fame or money. So that was just me. I think it's great that, you know, Rainya and legit and all. You know, a lot of players are going overseas and doing great things, but they're geared to do that. Their lives may be different, their whole their whole set up of what they want to do is fantastic. I think it's a great option. I think, you know, people should look at it and especially, I think more now, more than ever, the female game means that, because there's a new league in England and and there's so many great American players that can go over there, especially with college, you know, not playing right now go over and see what it's like overseas for a little big go on a sabatic won't check it out and go try to make it. A lot of players will do that when they're you know, they're not set with what they want to do and in their lives that they just want to play ball and go play, you know, go give it a chance. But I think there's still a lot of American players like me that love where they live, love their family, love their hometown, love their their you know, having their brothers and sisters around them, their mom and dad, and you know, want to be a part of where their community is back home. And that was my biggest thing. Casey Keller, was one of my best friends and soccer on the youth national team and he was trying to get me to come over and play with them all throughout right, yeah, in England. So I just felt, you know, why didn't? Didn't really care about the big contracts. I wanted to be happy with where I'm at and my choice is sound because I'm, you know, part of a good, solid club foundation. I built a club here that I think is hopefully respected by other peers and the game and you know, we're doing it our own way, the way that we know how to do it, and the way that I've learned and using my experience to hopefully benefits some of these players in a positive way. Okay, so that's all the time we got for this week. So thank you again, troy, for being part of this week's episode. No problem, and I enjoyed that. Any anytime. If you want to call up and do something again, let me know. I'm happy to do it. Make sure to like, subscribe, share, and thanks again for doing this this week.

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