Monday, February 21, 2011

Saturday February 19

We had some unseasonably warm weather this week, not quite enough to melt the snow on the turf though. As I write this we have a new 8" layer. Damn. Anyway, we had another indoor meet up, 9 v. 8, with team Joey & Jimmy pouring in the goals.

Player of the Week

This week, none other than the Great Keebo!

My name is Adam and I'm a soccerholic.

That's not true. At least, not any more. But back in the 1990s, when I was the king swinger in Old London Town, it couldn't have been truer. And the funny thing was, most of my soccering took place in England's second city, Birmingham.

Growing up in North London, I was a Liverpool fan. But to put that in context, I was a stupid kid following the flow and success of one of the all-conquering dynasties that come along once every so often. During the '80s the Reds won six league titles, four FA Cups, four League cups and two European Cups. I was seven years old and easily led.

My interest in soccer (and every time I write it, it grates – we all know I mean "football") waned when I got to high school and playing became less about fun and messing about and more about winning… until one fateful Sunday afternoon in 1989 when I was drawn in to a spectacular game on the telly: Aston Villa, featuring some of the most exciting players I had ever seen: David Platt, Tony Daley, Paul McGrath, beat Everton 6-2. At this point, I had all but abandoned Liverpool, so I went to school the next day and announced I was a Villa fan. Given the name of the team, some of the less soccer-knowledgeable people I knew assumed they played in London, but no, they are the pride of Birmingham in the West Midlands – two hours to the north of where I grew up. Given the fact I was only 15, the first Villa game I saw was in London two years later, away at West Hame (a 3-1 loss). I didn't get to Villa Park until a year after that (a 1-1 tie with Leeds). But by the time I had a car and was skipping college classes to work as a journalist I had a season ticket and followed Villa home and away for the next four or five years (first game as a season ticket holder was a 4-1 win over QPR, last game I saw at Villa Park was a 3-1 over Middlesbrough).

I have said before that if, as a kid, I didn't play soccer because it was too wet, I would have played twice a year. And that's true. If it wasn't raining, it had just finished. I was also something of an… Academic and would rather be in front of my computer than physically exert myself. That is, until I discovered Villa. As a central defender, sometimes at right back, I would play all I could. All my paid vacation was spent taking half-days so I could sneak out of work and go to away games on Wednesday nights. When I was still living with my parents, almost all my salary was blown on jerseys and train fares. Yes, I spent Valentine's Day in 1994 away at Highbury watching Villa draw 2-2 with Arsenal in a league cup semi-final. And I would do it again, a hundred times over.

Then, I emigrated. From 1999-2003, I worked in the city trying desperately to make soccer connections with anyone. My wife would be dragged to a pub in midtown on a Sunday morning to watch Villa, who had lost their way somewhat, playing Chelsea and squeaking out a 0-0 draw. Even the South American guys I worked with hadn't heard of Aston Villa – except the Columbians who knew their striker, Juan Pablo Angel (who had a dismal first season, two good years, then moved to the NY Red Bulls, of course).

It was the fall of 2003 when I called a number in the local newspaper advertising for over 30s (I was 29) to play at Trap Hagen school on Sunday mornings. On that first morning, I met Murph, Frankie and Bobby M waiting to get started, and then the backbone of what is Waldwick Senior Soccer later when the game started.

And that's how I got from there to here. Since then, Sunday mornings remain the highlight of my week and I hope to play for the next 20 years. I feel very lucky to be part of the group.

That is all.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday Feb 14.

Still snowed out. Another indoor game was held on Saturday, I missed it. Keith says we'll be back on the turf March 6, which is pretty close to when we started again last season. The weather should be warm this week, but that snow pack is pretty deep. Any bets?

In the interest of keeping it interesting, and of getting to know each other a little better, I'm going to introduce a new feature to the weekly blog: "Player of the Week." If you would like to be considered please E-mail me a little bio of yourself. Include information about your soccer career, how you came to WSS, something about your family and your work. I'll take some photos if we ever get back together, but there are some photos I can use, and you can send me some. I'm at

Player of the Week:

John Gilchrist

Wow! It's me!

I was brought up in Upper Saddle River and attended the public schools there starting from the second grade. I joined the school soccer team in sixth grade and stayed with it through high school. I was a big kid, but I couldn't stand football with all the standing around and arguing. My senior year varsity team was undefeated in the regular season and district champs, but we didn't do too well in the states. My buddy and I were named all-county fullbacks.

I studied architecture at the University of Virginia. Upon graduation I went to work in my Dad's firm. We did a lot of office buildings, laboratories and churches including St Elizabeth in Wyckoff. Our biggest project was the International Crossroads Sheraton in Mahwah. Right after we finished that project I got married to the lovely Angela Palazzo from Teaneck, who is a cardiologist. We had two kids: Will, who used to play with us, is a senior at Roger Williams studying political science, and Andy, who is a junior at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, studying production and guitar.

We moved from Englewood back to USR when the kids were young. They joined the rec soccer, basketball and baseball teams and I got roped into coaching. At one of our coaches meetings we decided to get the coaches together to kick a soccer ball around. This proved to be fun, and it grew into full sided games at Lion's Park. At some point we challenged the Waldwick team. USR vs. Waldwick became a regular Sunday morning event, and we played at Lion's until we got kicked off, and then at Traphagen. Traphagen was a misery because of the ruts and mud. Playing on the high school turf has been ecstasy. The teams blended and of course we're somewhat more organized now with the shirts and regular starting times.

When my Dad retired I opened my own office in Montvale where I do whatever projects I can get my hands on: new houses, additions, restaurants, (additions to all three River Palms), offices, stores. I'm also a PE (professional engineer). If I'm not working or playing soccer, I'm probably out in my boat fishing. I trailer the boat up and down the Jersey coast and out to Martha's Vineyard chasing stripers, blues, fluke, whatever swims.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Saturday February 5

We had another 8 v 8 at the super dome, but that's it. No hope for the snow melting any time soon. On a brighter note, there should be no conflicts for our regular Sunday morning time slot once the season gets going again.