Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Eric Leonard: Tempers in Tucson, Looking Ahead to Loons

Below is an unabridged interview with FMFC defender Eric Leonard, edited slightly for grammar/spelling/accuracy. We’d like to thank Eric for his time on a Monday afternoon after a busy few days. If you’re a Patreon subscriber ($5/mo), you can listen to the interview audio in full.

Eric: Turns into…

Kyle: I was really confused what you guys were talking about at first, when I came in, but now it makes more sense.

Eric: Yeah. We were talking about why I’m always red.

Kyle: It happens.

Eric: Look at Andrew, just living life, I mean.

Andrew: Look at this. Look at this.

[Editor’s note: I (Andrew) am in Belize right now, and turned the camera around to this.]

Eric: I don’t want to look, oh no. Oh my-

Kyle: No, I’m not jealous. It’s fine. I’m not jealous at all. I don’t know about you, I have the beautiful scenes that is Madison, Wisconsin, nothing but gray and cold.

Eric: I have a dog park in my background.

Andrew: So Eric is there, what dog park is there over there? Is there one behind Brown Point? Because you guys live right near Old Sauk and Pleasant View.

Eric: Yeah. I don’t know if it’s actually a dog park, but every single time I look out in this massive place, there’s at least 10 dogs. So I call a dog park.

Grant: It’s a dog park.

Kyle: It’s close enough.

Grant: The dogs have spoken. It’s a dog park.

Eric: That’s what I’m saying, man.

Andrew: So yeah. Eric, how are you doing? How are you feeling after the Tucson game? How are you doing personally? I mean, it’s probably one of the longest trips that there is to make this season.

Eric: Yeah. I think I’m still a little heated from the game to be honest with you.

Andrew: It looked like it got a bit chippy there.

Eric: Yeah. Just like me and Mitch, like for us, it was like that game was going to be a clean sheet for us. Like me and him, that was so important to have a clean sheet. You guys know better than anyone when you go down a guy, it’s tough to keep a clean sheet. And what I think what’s more frustrating is that I felt personally if my head or Mitch’s head didn’t get on the ball, then it was dangerous in a dangerous area because they have big guys and we can only cover so many spaces. I have the post, Mitch has middle, but that still leaves the top of the box, the far post and everything. So just, I think definitely to answer your question, still a little heated and the trip was long, man. We got home at like 10 o’clock last night.

Andrew: Did you guys do your recovery workout in Tucson before you flew back?

Eric: Yeah, we did our regen workout in the pool. Neil ran through a good workout just because we can’t afford to do nothing. We have a game in two days.

Andrew: Right.

Kyle: Yeah, I was going to say I was going to ask, because obviously I felt the same way. If you guys had all 11, I think you would’ve seen the game out and kept that clean sheet, I do truly believe that.

Grant: Agreed.

Kyle: So when it comes to being under all that pressure, when you have somebody get sent off, what is then the priority? Obviously you have the lead, but once Tucson equalize, was it, “let’s try and get this win.” Was it hold on, or getting more chances. What was the mindset after the red card and then eventually the equalizing goal?

Eric: You know what, that’s a great question because I don’t think… I think if you asked everyone on the team, they would have a different answer. I don’t think we really ever thought of that happening. And listen, we all know, I feel bad for Cyrus because it’s going to happen. Stuff like that happens in soccer. Things like that, two yellows, it happens and he feels terrible. I feel for him. But it’s done, can’t control it. After that moment, I think that half of us wanted to park the bus and the other half wanted to continue to play. Personally, I felt in the second half once we started to calm down and control the ball, we started to move it better, started to get Jeremiah on it more up top, started to get… Even get Cassini, when he came on, getting him underneath, I still wanted to play. And I think Mitch still wanted to play too. But it’s tough because you have 11 guys on the field and ultimately you have to work with what everyone wants to do and it can be different based on the vibe of the game. And when you lose a guy, half the guys are like, “You know what, let’s protect it.” And then the other half, if you have energy and you’re just coming on, “Let’s get that next goal.”

Kyle: Yeah, I think you could definitely notice that near the end, where with Cassini and Streng, they both had good chances. I think they wanted to, you could tell they wanted to attack after Tucson equalized near the end, which I appreciated. I think it just showed how hungry you guys are. It sucks that, and obviously I don’t… Two yellow cards for mainly time wasting is not ideal, but yellow cards were being handed out like candy on Halloween it seems like.

Eric: I’ve had that ref before, guys, year one and year two. He was really good for us at home. He was really good for us. I don’t know if you even remember him, but whew, tough one.

Kyle: I feel like there’s only one… There’s two refs you know and I feel like one of them is Danielle who everyone knows and once you see that name, you’re like, “Oh shit.”

Eric: Yeah.

Grant: Yeah. So I guess Eric, I’ll ask a question related to that. When you have a ref that’s just tossing out cards left and right. How does that change what you do or how the team plays or does it change at all?

Eric: Well, let’s look at it from a different perspective. I’ve gotten a yellow card in all three games but that one. And arguably, if we’re talking about throwing out yellows, I should have gotten a yellow card. So I guess to answer your question: you can’t change the way you play based on a ref. But if you can tell that they’re handing out cards like candy, it needs to be a more collective maturity of everyone that you can’t kick the ball. Whatever you need to do, I don’t care if you kick the guy, I’m talking about after play is done, you can’t kick the ball.

Grant: You got to mind your Ps and Qs.

Eric: Right. Because that’s a game where you would think someone like me gets a yellow, but I didn’t.

Andrew: It was so inconsistent. Their player Fahling, he had three fouls within a minute’s timeframe where play was stopped and didn’t get cautioned once. Like he took-

Eric: Exactly. The ref walked up to him and was like, “1, 2, 3.” And that’s it. What do you mean-

Andrew: Yeah. Fool me three times, shame on me.

[All laugh]

Kyle: I think for me there were instances where there was a lot more contact that wouldn’t get called, but then lighter contact would get called like two minutes later. It’s like, “Okay, I’m fine if you want them to play more physical, but at the same time, if you’re going to let them play physical, you can’t then immediately stop it for lighter contact.” I even think like with the press that led to the goal, I feel like there were times where that type of physicality would’ve been blown a foul, and then you wouldn’t be able to attack right after that.

Eric: And it’s tough and it’s definitely a mental battle. And that’s why for me, as someone on the field, it’s like, “Okay, you know what? You can never blame the ref for a result.” But I will say one thing, go back to the 80th minute mark, watch the set piece. The set piece before the corner kick that Phil pushes out. I get two hand pushed in the back of the head, visibly, visibly.

Grant: I yelled it at the Brass Ring when I… Because we saw it on the TV.

Eric: Visibly and I rewinded it twice. And like for the sideline ref to not see that, I mean, that’s a foul where the play stops, whatever. Now we can still defend the set piece better and all those things leading up to it. But just like, it is tough at times. So to answer your question, Andrew, it’s a mentality battle for sure. But you can’t change anything because once you do, then you’re playing into the ref and you can’t play soccer like that.

Andrew: Yeah, no. I mean, I still remember all the way back to when I was in the third grade and I was a goalkeeper, and never played goalkeeper again after this game. It was the last game of the season. I mean, obviously it’s kids. This game went to PKs. This ref whistled me three times for coming off my line before the player ran up to kick it. And I absolutely did not come off my line and saved it each time he took it. My dad was furious, but that fourth time their taker went up that I had to go save it, they ended up scoring because I was so afraid to move.

Eric: Sure.

Andrew: It’s weird how those moments stick with you, but I identify with that a hundred percent. You can’t tone down the way that you play, just because ref’s having a bad day or whatever, because then you’re basically playing like handicapping yourself.

Eric: Sure. And I think that’s where the difference between last year and this year. Like last year, once the ref was bad, it was like, “Uh-oh. We might be conceding here in the 80th, 80th, 85th, 90th minute. We’re going to lose this game.” But the difference is this game this year is that we haven’t lost yet. While we’re very disappointed we haven’t gotten that first win, we haven’t lost yet. And I’m so confident in this group of guys, because the other two ties we had, we came back from being down. This was the first game where we were up and an unfortunate circumstance that didn’t go our way where we’re down a guy, we managed to hang on to a point where maybe last year we don’t get that point.

Andrew: I don’t think that there’s been a game so far this year where I felt like the effort wasn’t there or that the quality wasn’t there. We’ve had games where we conceded first where last year, I probably would’ve doubted it like immediately, like, “Well, they scored in the first two minutes. Game’s over.”

Grant: Here we go.

Kyle: Repeat. Yep.

Andrew: Yeah. But I haven’t felt like that at all this year. So I mean, that being said, and I mean, we could probably talk until we’re blue in the face about Tucson, getting that first win would be huge on Wednesday against Minnesota at home. How are the boys feeling going into this game?

Eric: I think good. And that’s where I think the mindset is just half and half, still a little heated from Tucson, but also, man, just fired up for Wednesday. I’m personally so pumped for Wednesday because you’re playing an MLS team, man. And where this time, I can’t even tell you what the plans are going to be for players playing. I assume like, “Hey man, let’s go in to win this game because we win this game. Not only do we move on in the Open Cup, this is our first win of the season.” You know what I mean? So guys are pumped. I know every single person wants to be in that 18 man roster. And I think tomorrow you’ll see that competition hit hard at practice, which is fantastic.

Kyle: Yeah. And I was going to say, you also have the benefit of you don’t have a league game on Saturday, so you do get that chance to go all out and yeah, there’s still going to be a friendly and I’m sure there’s going to be some guys, but there’s going to be a lot more rotation. But I think one thing I was noticing in the Tucson game that I think will help with the Minnesota game is it seems like people are getting it. It seems like you guys are starting to gel a little bit more, especially off the ball with your press. I think that has been the most evident thing to me is how it seems to be getting more fluid. And it everyone seems to be more on the same page. And is that just because of the time that you’ve had, or is it more consistency at least with the lineups in the league compared to the friendlies and the scrimmage against, not the scrimmage, or the Open Cup against Cleveland?

Eric: It’s just learning players tendencies. I mean like I’m a different defender than Mitch is. And now I’d say after if you asked him too, I finally feel like our connection in the back line… Man, they had one shot and it was in the second half off a bouncer that Phil grabbed with his eyes closed. Like they had nothing at all during the first half. Quez and Andrew, you’re seeing how they work together now, like the fluidity of Andrew moving up, Quez covering, it’s not just Andrew covering. And then even our press like Audi leading the press when it’s not Abdou or Nazeem or Jeremiah, like everyone is molding together. And sure, we had six weeks of pre-season. We had some pre-season games, but it’s not the real thing until you hit your league games. It’s a different environment. League games, it’s the real deal, points matter. Guys jobs are on the line. And I think this game was good for us because we all left that game frustrated by our play and we still got a point.

Grant: Yeah. Keeps you hungry.

Eric: Yeah, exactly. It does keep you hungry though. Yeah, for sure.

Andrew: I was just going to primarily was just going to ask too, how some of the newer guys, I guess, and some of the younger guys are taking this. I mean, obviously somebody like Torres, he traveled out to Phoenix. It was a long trip for him. He didn’t see any minutes. What do you think it’s like for a guy who’s 18 years old coming off of a rough trip like that, where you kind of feel a bit hard done. I mean, Cyrus too, I mean, you said everybody feels terrible for him. He’s only 22 years old. It’s pretty young to have to bear the weight of that. Especially with the way things went after he had to leave the game.

Eric: Yeah. I think one of the things that solves that problem right away is that there’s a lot of friendships on this group, but I think collectively as a team, we are so comfortable with every single one of the guys. So for example, I think in other years we had a lot more cliques in terms of this group of guys hung out together, this group of guys. I mean, I hang out with Alann and there’s almost a 10 year age difference, like I spend time with him. And I think as a younger player, when I was a younger player, having someone like Connor Tobin talking to me all the time, having someone like JC Banks in my year, man, like, “Hey, you take care of the tackling. I’ll take care of like everything off the ball.” Little things like that. So, “Hey, Eric, you may not have started this game or whatever, but keep working in practice.” Those are the things I think people are trying to…

Eric: Even talk with someone like Alann who has absolutely the ability to play. We just have such a competitive lineup that I can’t tell you what the starting lineup is going to be every game, which is fantastic, which means Forward Madison has recruited right this year. You know what I mean? But in this case sure, Alann comes on a long trip, doesn’t play, but for him, I think he’s just as hungry as before he left and that he wants to play badly and I’m sure he’s pissed, which is great.

Kyle: Yeah. And I was going to say piggybacking off that, someone like Jeremiahs, someone like Cassini, they’ve consistently come off the bench and I’m sure they’re really going to want to start. So is it kind of the same thing as with Alann? Just like kind of talking to him, just getting like, “Hey, it’s your time.” With guys that have just consistently come off the bench and it’s kind of like, “All right, when am I going to get that chance?” I mean, we know Jeremiah wants to play the big games. He wants to make that impact. So is it kind of the same convo?

Eric: Yeah. And I think ultimately those players know that at one point or another, they’re going to have their name called to the sheet and they’re going to be [inaudible 00:15:58] have to perform on that day. And that’s kind of the culture that Matt and Neil and JP of course have created that it’s who’s ever name gets called up to the plate, you need to do your job and you need to do your job for as long of a period as you can. And when you’re done and you’re dead in this lineup in a three back when we’re pressing, I mean, you’re running, you’re running and our front three are running their butts off. So everyone knows that when you’re done, you’re tired, the next guy’s lined up, ready to go in. And I think for someone like Jeremiah and even the quality in Cassini, it’s a matter of time before they get their opportunity and then the next guy’s up for when they’re tired.

Andrew: Yeah. Grant, you had a question earlier before I interrupted you?

Grant: Yeah, I was going to ask about, so going into Minnesota, has it been mostly just guys being excited for this game, Eric, or has there been kind of a little bit of both of like a little bit of excitement and then some nerves and kind of like finding the equilibrium between the two?

Eric: That’s a good question. I think that, man, I don’t know, but I think it needs to be both because I mean, MLS team. Sure-

Grant: If you’re not a little bit scared in this game there’s something wrong, right?

Eric: That’s what I’m saying. I understand I’m in League One, I’ve been in League One for four years, but if you don’t think I want to ball out to take the centerback’s spot on this, you’re crazy. Obviously I want that. So for me, that kind of calms everything out a little bit because we’re the underdogs. We’re not expected to win, but at the same time the nerves are pumping because it’s like, “Man, imagine if we win and beat these guys.” We’re a League One team beating this MLS team. They’re not going to send out all their second team guys down. Sure, they’ll send some, they’re going to bring some first team players. I know for sure they’re going to bring some first team players. They want to win this too.

Grant: Yep. Yeah. Because Adrian Heath was saying he was quoted as saying that the lineup that will be in Madison will be very different from what the normal lineup you will see on like a Saturday game would be essentially alluding that like it’s going to be an entirely different lineup, but-

Eric: Sure. Send whoever you want, because then we win. That’s on you.

Grant: Yeah. We were.

Kyle: I was going to say like, there’s still going to be enough guys that will be there that have played consistently in MLS. They just might not be the… It might not be a Reynoso and these are like he might not start, but you’re still going to have some like Robin Lod who might have Hassani, like someone like that where they’ve been around.

Eric: And these are the games, man. This is what I live for. This is a game that if you miced me up for this game, marking one of these forwards, you couldn’t release it to the public. That’s the type of stuff.

Grant: We know. We were in Minnesota for the preseason.

Eric: I hope that guy is back, man. I hope he’s back.

Grant: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah. No, but we’re all we’re pumped, man. We really are. And it’s a home game. Are you kidding me? Open Cup, round three. Every [inaudible 00:19:01]. We’ve never had that before.

Andrew: Yeah. Are you sure that you took that guy out of your pocket after the last time you played them?

Eric: I got to go check my pants, might still be there.

Grant: Check your shorts to make sure because you never know, he might be sneaky and still be hanging out.

Eric: My college roommate is actually I think going to be on the bench from Minnesota United, Eric Dick. He plays from Minnesota United. So hopefully he’ll be traveling, which will be pretty exciting to see him.

Andrew: Yeah. So being that you’ve already played this team and we talked with Matt a couple days ago and he was talking about how the two team that y’all played at the [Nessie 00:19:48] month, month half ago or whatever, had about seven first teamers in it.

Eric: Sure.

Andrew: Like what did you take away from that game that you think that you’ll employ going into this game on Wednesday?

Eric: I thought the space on the wings when we were able to bypass players. So if you remember the goal, might be instead of playing it back to whoever, I think it was Cyrus played it back to me, instead of me playing it out to Cesar, I bypassed him out to, I think it was-

Grant: Rojay.

Eric: Yep. Rojay [inaudible 00:20:18], Nazeem’s there. I mean, I think that’s going to be a big part of our plan, but I think what I’m excited about is that our press wasn’t even nearly as nice as it is now. And if we get whoever suits up for that-

Grant: You didn’t have Mitch that game.

Eric: Yeah. Didn’t have Mitch in that game. There were a lot of guys we didn’t have, I mean, a lot of guys, and I think that now we all know how to do this shape. So I think they’re going to be in for a rude awakening and our back line’s going to be more connected. Our midfield it’s going to be good. It really is. But that’s a big one, the bypass. I really think if we can skip out players, that’s going to help us.

Grant: I’m reading that as is that what we can look for is when in that back third has that possession instead of like swinging it to the wide wing and then starting from there, it’s going to be looking to go up to the midfield and go out wide to the wings there and then pushing.

Eric: Yeah.

Grant: So maybe turning the screws a little bit on the counter attack.

Eric: And that obviously in games, you’re going to have to be patient at one point or another. That’s how all games are, but yeah, it’s going to need to be fast, the speed of play is going to have to be as high as it’s ever been. And we’re playing a team that is at a higher level for a reason. There’s a reason those guys are there and they’re not where we are. So in order to match them, and if we want to beat them, we need to do our things as a team that work for us to the highest level, if that makes sense.

Grant: It does. Know your role.

Eric: Yeah, exactly.

Andrew: Who’s been impressing lately in training, from your perspective? Obviously you’re playing, you’re playing a defender and we’ve had some struggles with scoring goals in the past. Who looks to you like an attacking threat to watch maybe somebody that we haven’t seen a lot of so far this season?

Eric: I’ve said this a hundred times, but someone who I think is going to get maybe five to seven goals this year, I really think is going to be Audi. I really do. Not only because he’s clinical, but his press, I mean, he’s not the center guy, but I think our press is largely due to his running. That when we win the ball back at high… At the end of the game, for example, Cassini had that meg, filthy meg, you guys remember that? Oh my God destroyed him. That’s-

Grant: So, so nasty.

Andrew: Back heel? A back heel nutmeg.

Grant: It was so sick, dude.

Andrew: Yeah. I didn’t put that in my recap because I didn’t want to put a parental advisory on the post.

Eric: Oh gosh. Yes. So saucy but like in that area, 20 yards outside the box Audi and Jeremiah are filthy finishers, man. Audi for one, I’ve seen him, I mean, he scores in practice all the time, but even Jeremiah, I don’t think you’ve seen it yet. This kid has a rocket of a leg, an absolute rocket. And we’ve talked about putting him on free kicks when if Quez is not it or whoever, man, this guy can hit a ball and when he hits it’s not going straight, it’s knuckling at you. One of the worst nightmares for a goalie.

Andrew: Nice. Well, how happy were guys for Enriquez, for Quez, getting that goal against the run of play, kind of a ridiculous goal, especially it was a side of his game that I haven’t seen before.

Eric: Yeah. And I think that’s another component that he can bring to a team. I think that there’s a lot of, like I said, competition in the lineup. Remember we haven’t even talked about Drew Connor. We haven’t even talked about him, he’s another player with a lot of value. I mean, maybe Quez can play in a higher role too, because he’s shown some attacking prowess. He’s someone who gets in front of goal and just like how he plays, man, he’s quality. And you can see now he’s scored a free kick at the end of the year last year, he can shoot the ball. Maybe that’s another offensive mindset right there.

Grant: You mentioned his name and we know he’s working through a calf injury. How’s Drew coming along?

Eric: Yeah, he’s good. From what I hear I’m hopefully, to see him Wednesday, if not then Saturday I think from talking to him, his calf’s feeling a lot better. Those things are nasty injuries, man, because it can seem so small, but a not keep you from walking.

Grant: Yep.

Kyle: One player we haven’t… Oh, go finish. Go ahead, Grant.

Grant: I was going to say you tend to use your calves a little bit in this sport.

Eric: Yeah. Just a little bit.

Kyle: Yeah, no. One player I was going to talk about that we haven’t talked about yet, but I think he’s someone that whether he starts or comes off the bench, it’s going to be Justin Sukow and just his mentality of he’s just going to run at you. He is kind of like a dog. He’s just got that dog in him where he’s just going to annoy the living shit out of the other players. Is that something that you could see? Is there anyone else… I feel like Sukow’s definitely going to bring that. I know you mentioned AUdi with the press. Is there anyone else that you think is going to bring kind of that nasty streak with them?

Eric: I think as Cassini starts to blend and get comfortable into the style of playing the US, I think you’re going to see more and more of him. He’s an incredible player. His feet are incredible. He can shoot from just about anywhere on the field. And he can whip a good [inaudible 00:25:57] too. And he’s come off the bench at half for the last two games, I think he’s someone that as he gets settled into the game, maybe you see a start from him and maybe you see something different. I think he can and be our next Josiel Nunez in terms of actually starting and controlling the attacking. So he’s definitely someone.

Eric: But yeah, Justin is another guy too, and it’s tough. He subbed on into the game, but we’re putting him as almost like that right wing back in a because we went into a five because we needed him there to try and hold onto the lead. But he is someone at practice, he is constantly running at guys. He’s deadly one V one and he can shoot the ball too. So we have a lot of attacking threats. I promise you guys a lot of attacking threats.

Andrew: So I have a question about, so you’re about to more than likely add in another defender into the rotation, into the competitive pool in Mélé Temguia who’s obviously played at a first division level in Canada, has played multiple countries. How-

Grant: He froze.

Andrew: Do you and Mitch and Cyrus to a degree, do you welcome that sort of competitive sort of atmosphere when it comes…

Eric: Yeah, I think I got the gist of your question. Yeah, absolutely. I think the added competition pushes us. Even though I’ve been here for four years, Mitch is the captain and whatever it is, I think in terms of the added competition, it keeps you on your toes. You don’t want to be in a team where your position is set every day. And I’ve talked with you guys a lot about this, personally as a player over the last four years, I never walked into a week of training thinking that, “Oh for sure, Eric Leonard is starting.” Regardless of what the coach, the players, or you guys thought, I promise you, I have never thought that just because of the competition and how confident I am in every one of these guys. So it’s every training, you have to go into the mindset, you’re earning a spot to play, you’re earning your spot.

Eric: So for me, someone like him, a big guy coming in, it excites me because that’s just added competition. And if they want to try things, move people around. I mean, we know that other people can play in other positions. Yes, I’ve been at that center role, but I played that outside right role for all of last year. So I think that there’s a lot of mixing and matching that you can do. But once again, competition is competition and like Omaha and Greenville have had success because they have competition in those roles, if that makes sense.

Kyle: Yep. And I was going to say, even just not even what’s in the back three, you even look like out on the wings, you can put Mikey out there, you can put Derek, you can put Cesar, you now have Al, like you have so many guys out in the wingback roles, the midfield we’ve kind of talked about even striker. I mean, I do not envy Matt where he has to choose probably one of Abdou, Jeremiah, or Nazeem like picking one of those, that’s got to be tough.

Eric: It is. But that’s the coolest thing. And Matt will tell us straight to our face, he’s like, “I want you guys to make my life a living hell, because the harder you guys make my life, the better the team’s going to be.” You know what I mean? So if he doesn’t know going into the game that who’s going to play, that’s a good thing to have, which means we have quality ready to start and quality ready to come in off the bench. So hopefully that answers that Andrew.

Grant: You’re on mute, Andrew.

Andrew: Sorry. There’s some randos walking, sucking up all my internets out here.

Kyle: Apparently it is working.

Andrew: You know how it goes, man. [inaudible 00:29:52] do you guys have any more questions ahead of like, I want to respect Eric’s time today. Do you have questions about Minnesota game or about the Tuscon game? Because otherwise we’re going to get into music right now.

Kyle: You can jump into music. The big thing I need to talk about May 13th, new Kendrick album.

Andrew: Oh.

Eric: Okay. New [inaudible 00:30:23] Jack Harlow album coming out May 5th. I don’t know if you guys are Jack Harlow fans.

Kyle: I don’t mind him. Like I don’t dislike. I just don’t listen to enough of his stuff to really.

Grant: Right.

Eric: Wait a minute. I’m going to see someone at the Sylvie this week. What’s his name?

Speaker 5: What?

Eric: Who we going to see this [crosstalk 00:30:40]. She’s saying what, she has her headphones in? Who?

Speaker 5: Parker McCollum.

Eric: Parker McCollum.

Andrew: Okay.

Grant: Country?

Speaker 5: Yeah.

Eric: I don’t know. She said yeah.

Grant: Not going to know it.

Eric: I just go places where I’m supposed to go, okay guys.

Grant: Hey, do what you got to do, man.

Eric: I don’t know what to tell you, guys. I have Backstreet Boys tickets later in the summer. We got those tickets, but July. I’m excited about that.

Kyle: I am very disappointed with the Summerfest lineup and I thought it would be better.

Andrew: We had to get into this, Eric. So Matt brought up that [crosstalk 00:31:29]-

Eric: If I could share my screen, I would show you guys this video. I don’t know-

Grant: Just send the video to us.

Eric: Can I put it in the chat or what?

Kyle: Yeah. Just put it in the chat.

Eric: Give me a sec, guys.

Andrew: Throw it in the chat, throw it in our Instagram group message. Whatever you got to do. I mean, you can’t just let Matt tell us about this without showing us the goods.

Eric: Great facts, big facts.

Andrew: I’ll tell you. So far on this trip, I’ve listen to a lot of like piano and guitar jazz stuff because it get… I don’t know. It has a very like bikini bottom sort of feel to it. So I’ve been enjoying my Herb Ellis and Joe Pass album. One that I’ve been listening to a lot and Grant and I are on hunt for is a band called Mamas Gun. Their latest record is top notch. It’s like not necessarily like, it’s not like neo soul, it’s not really neo soul. It’s like old, like it’s got that Memphis soul sound, like Stax, Booker T and the MG’s, that kind of stuff.

Grant: Yeah. There’s I mean, there’s a couple songs where we were listening to it and I’m like, “If you didn’t tell me who this was, you’d think this was a Marvin Gaye song.”

Andrew: Yeah.

Grant: Like the guy in this sounds like Marvin Gaye.

Andrew: It’s very striking.

Grant: Speaking of that, I’ve been listening to another record that Andrew and I actually got, The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble.

Eric: Let me write that down.

Grant: Yeah. Great stuff.

Andrew: It’s like up there, Grant, it’s up there with Mamas Gun and the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio. Like those three records together for me are like those are the soul albums to listen to this year.

Grant: Yep. Yep. This will definitely be a selection for SuperSoul Sunday at some point.

Eric: Let’s see if this is sending, this is slowly sending in the chat. If not-

Kyle: I don’t think I have anything new. It’s mainly been Koffee‘s new album Gifted.

Grant: I just, so I just started listening to the band Sault released a surprise album. They dropped a surprise album on Friday called Air. It’s really good.

Andrew: It’s like a film score almost.

Grant: Yeah. It’s really good.

Eric: . I might have seen this actually on my Spotify. I think it popped up.

Grant: Yeah. It came out Friday. So and I’m-

Andrew: Well the main dude behind Sault is Inflo, the producer, and he produced like-

Grant: Little Simz’s latest album.

Andrew: Yeah. Little Simz most recent one. Who else, man? I’ve got so much of their stuff. It’s hard to come by too on wax because you have to order it from England. Local record shops in Madison get it in but it’s always like $40 for an LP. But Cleo Sol that’s his lady apparently.

Grant: Yeah it is, it is his lady.

Andrew: But yeah. Cleo Sol her new one is-

Grant: Snoh Aalegra, he’s done stuff with her. Michael, what’s his last name? Kiwanuka.

Andrew: Yep.

Grant: Yep. He’s done stuff with him. He’s done stuff with Jordan Rakei.

Andrew: I’ve heard that like Dave and Skepta and Stormzy are trying to work with him, but he only works with specific people that are in his circle so far anyway.

Grant: Right. Right. But so yeah. So I recommend Air by Sault.

Kyle: There is one album and I’m kind of, it’s weird because I feel like this is almost a guilty pleasure, but I’m very curious to see how it is. I saw it was released recently, Bastille put out a new album.

Eric: Really? I used to [crosstalk 00:35:42] them a little bit, honestly.

Kyle: I feel like they have like three songs that always consistently are in my rotation and it’s like, “Okay, this is…” Like Pompeii is always one where I’m like, “Why? This keeps coming back. I don’t know how, but it always comes back.” But I’m curious to see what this album’s going to be.

Grant: It’s a good song that’s why it keeps coming back.

Eric: Yo, did you guys get that? I sent it in the chat.

Kyle: I see it.

Eric: Oh shit.

Grant: Hang on one second here.

Kyle: Yeah. Mines trying to download now.

Eric: Probably going to take, I have to download.

Kyle: Then the other main thing I’ve listened to Kes the band, they’re from Trinidad. They released a new single Liki Tiki, which it’s just a very it’s on brand for Kes. I feel like it’s one of those where it’s very catchy, which that’s Kes’s bread and butter. They put something that’s addictive and catchy and you don’t get it out of your head for days. This is going to take forever to download I feel like.

Andrew: Eric, you’re going to have to send it through that Instagram group message. My Belize internets are failing me.

Eric: I got you.

Kyle: I’ll just say, Andrew, if it makes you feel better my what? 200 something megabyte per second is struggling as well. So while the Belize internet probably isn’t the strongest, it’s also not working in Madison.

Eric: I’ll send it to the Instagram group chat.

Grant: Yeah. We’ll get it to Kyle that way.

Eric: Yeah, I’ll do it that way.

Andrew: Sweet. Cool. So to round out everything, because it seems like we’re wrapping up here. I want to respect Eric’s time and you all as well. I wanted to, I’ve been reading right now, Musa Okwonga, who he’s one of the co-hosts of the Stadio podcast. He wrote a book, came out this last year called In The End It Was All About Love. And there’s a passage in there called A Successful Adventurer and he talks about moving to Berlin and connecting with somebody randomly and getting an invite after talking about soccer with them, to do a trial for this person’s amateur team. And he’s talking about how cool of a group these people are, but he also is talking about before leading up to this quote, talking about how in teams past that he’s played in, he was always the best player. He felt like he was the best out of the group. And this is the first time that he’s connected with a group of guys to play soccer where he felt like he was the least talented, the least skilled.

Andrew: So they’re in Berlin and these are people from all over the world. And this is the passage he’s talking to himself. This whole book is like him talking to himself basically.

“In previous teams, you had generally been one of the more gifted players, but here you are one of the least. For some reason that makes you enjoy it all the more. After all, you reason, you are all in this team to build the same thing. And though you may not be the star architect, there is an equal value in laying bricks.”

– Musa Okongwa, In The End It Was All About Love

Eric: Yeah. I like that.

Andrew: And I read that and I was just like, “That’s like, those are like my favorite players.” The ones that they may not be the most flashy. They may not be the most aggressive. They show up, they do a job and they’re consistent and they put in the effort for the team every game. But yeah, it made me think a little bit about Forward Madison, even though I’m thousands of miles from home right now. So anyway, I thought it was a cool quote.

Eric: I like that. Thanks for sharing. It definitely resonates for sure.

Andrew: Cool. Well thank you for joining us Eric. I’m bummed I won’t be at the game on Wednesday because I’ll be on the beach here. That’s the trade off, I guess. So I guess you have to deal with that sometimes.

Kyle: I was going to say you are missing it because you’re on a beach. I’m missing it because we’re having an HR meet get together.

Andrew: Your excuse is much worse.

Grant: I’ll be there.

Kyle: I’m hoping I could swing at the end.

Grant: Yeah. I mean, Eric, I got you. I’ll be there.

Kyle: I will try make it. It probably will be like second half, if not the end. That’s my goal.

Grant: If you make it, there will be a cold beverage waiting for you.

Kyle: Perfect.

Grant: But you have to text me and let me know that you’re coming so I can get it for you.

Kyle: Yeah. So I will let you know. I’ll keep, I’ll provide you an update just because I’m also sole parenting this weekend so I’m going to need a cold beverage to brace myself for that weekend.

Grant: Beautiful.

Andrew: Grant, you got to drink twice the whiskey sours for me after the game.

Eric: That only seems logical.

Grant: I normally would say that I am more than up to the task here.

Andrew: You got to drive. You got to drive.

Grant: But I have school. I have school.

Kyle: I was going to say it’s still a weeknight.

Grant: Yeah. I mean it’s still a Wednesday. I mean getting up at 5:00 AM for my kids, I don’t I think would be a wise idea to drink 75 whiskey sours beforehand.

Kyle: Just do it for Saturday then.

Grant: Yeah. For Saturday, we’re on.

Andrew: I paid for way more than I drank last time. Sounds good. Eric, you know people at USSF right? You’re a soccer player. So you know, everybody inside the Federation, I assume. So maybe can you get them to schedule these early Open Cup games on the weekend instead?

Eric: I will do my best.

Grant: All right, man.

Eric: I’ll start sending some DMs.

Andrew: That’s all I ask.

Eric: Yeah, no problem.

Grant: I mean, I think a strongly worded email would do it.

Eric: Oh, it absolutely would.

Kyle: Well, I mean, it’s down in Chicago, so just like, as you’re making your way down there, just like just swing over.

Eric: CC, maybe 50 Flock members and some season ticket holders and that should do the trick.

Grant: We got your back.

Kyle: Perfect.

Andrew: All right, Eric.

Grant: All right.

Andrew: Until next time.

Eric: All right, guys. Thank you. Appreciate it.

Andrew: We’ll see y’all.


  • Andrew Schmidt

    Eclecticist, FMFC supporter, Flock co-founder, designer of things, and taker of photos. Writer, wrench, motorcyclist. Pro-intellectualist, anti-pedant. Drinker of coffee and greeter of dogs.


  • Grant Pieters

    Father, deep thinker, lover of life...and falafel.


  • Kyle Carr

    Capo, light gamer, podcaster and super amateur baker. All that plus some other stuff


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