Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Mitch Osmond: FMFC Skipper, Roosters fan, Vegemite Enthusiast

Photo: Forward Madison FC

Below is an unabridged interview with FMFC Captain Mitch Osmond, edited slightly for grammar/spelling/accuracy. We’d like to thank Mitch for his time on a Thursday evening after a very physical match the night before and then training session earlier in the AM. If you’re a Patreon subscriber ($5/mo), you can listen to the interview audio in full.


[Editor’s note: only Andrew and Grant are on the call with Mitch to start]

(Zoom Voice: RECORDING IN PROGRESS)

Andrew: There’s that stern librarian voice. She’s back.

Grant: You love her so much, don’t you?

Andrew: You know what? Sometimes, you need to be put in your place.

Grant: I’m good, thanks.

Andrew: Cool. Thanks for joining us, Mitch. We really appreciate it. Glad you could make it. Glad things worked out. Where are you taking your lady tomorrow night?

Mitch: I think we’re just going to go to Flix Brewhouse.

Andrew: Oh, cool.

Mitch: Yeah, she’s a big Harry Potter fan.

Grant: What movie you going to go see, or have you not decided that yet?

Mitch: The new Harry Potter one. She likes Harry Potter, so.

Grant: You’re going to do what you’ve got to do, you know?

Mitch: You’re going to do what you’ve got to do. Yeah.

Andrew: Yup. So Mitch, we’ll probably learn a lot about you. We’ve got a bunch of questions for you, but to do a quick introduction, we write for, and I guess work from the fan side of things. We were a big part of The Flock’s founding and leadership the first three years and shifted to writing about the team and helping support the club in that way outside of just matchdays. So yeah, we’ve gotten to know the ownership over the last three or four years, I was at the city council meeting where they voted to allow them to start a soccer team at Breese Stevens about 5 years back. That’s what this interview is for, the NDZ website. Eventually, we’re going to … It was supposed to start out as a actual football fanzine, print editions to sell outside the grounds and that kind of stuff, but COVID being what it is and not being able to be around and supply chain-

Mitch: That’s a good idea.

Andrew: Yeah. Anyway. And Grant, I met through doing all this Forward Madison stuff and he actually has legit journalism chops. So I was like, “Why not?” Anyway, yeah. I guess we could probably get started right away. How do you feel the team played overall against Minnesota?

Mitch: There was things that we can leave with our heads held high and be very proud of aspects of the performance. I think it highlighted some areas that we still need to work on, but I thought not one player dogged a single run the whole night, everyone played with everything. And look, they put out a good team. There’s a lot of experience that was in that starting lineup. And then, obviously, you guys saw what they could bring off the bench. We played against a very good side and we went toe to toe with them. A couple lapses of concentration on set pieces but other than that, the game was fairly even in each box. They just had the lion’s share of possession.

Andrew: Right.

Grant: Speaking about Minnesota, Mitch, you were drafted by Minnesota in 2019. So what happened there that didn’t transpire, that never seemed to take off and that you ended up, not that I’m complaining, but, playing here. So go through the process of being drafted and how you ended up here.

Mitch: Yeah. Originally, I was training with them during my college years. JP actually brought me in there originally when he was there.

Grant: So sidebar, Mitch, where did you go to college?

Mitch: University of Rio Grande.

Andrew: But not Rio Grande of Texas, right? The one in Ohio?

Mitch: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. Yeah, because of where I played in Australia, I didn’t have any NCAA eligibility, but I was eligible to play in the NAIA. And Scott Morrissey has a great program out there. I mean, the level of players that he’d bring through and what he’s built over there, it was a privilege for me to play there. And I feel good about my time in college playing at Rio Grande, but yeah, I spent some time in Minnesota training there in the summer and I was drafted there and it’s just one of those things in this game is, sometimes, you need a little bit of luck for your way and it was the other way for me. They already had some decent center backs there that were contracted. And then, halfway through the preseason, they signed Ike Opara, who was the reigning MLS defensive player of the year and he came in, so I think, for me, I needed to play. So the decision was made to leave and I ended up at Indy, which is another really good club and I have great memories there as well.

Andrew: Yeah. You played also for OKC Energy, a couple other places. How does Forward Madison stack up as a club, as a team, in comparison to the other places you’ve played? What’s similar, what’s different, what do you like so far?

Mitch: To be honest, the way the club functions, the support from the fans, the, I guess, stature of the club within Madison, it’s pretty comparable, to be honest. I think the fanbase competes as one of the best in USL as a whole, Championship included, not just League One. In that aspect, it’s been fantastic. I would say maybe facilities is a bit of a difference. I think in the preseason, we have to do a lot of moving around because of the weather and the lack of indoor facilities in the area. But the way that the coaching staff managed the pre-season and the travel and the resiliency of this group, it wasn’t an excuse and everyone just got on with it and now, it’s been nice that the weather’s a little bit better for us to be at Breese every day. Yeah.

Grant: You’re mentioning that about Madison and the lovely weather that we’ve been experiencing the last three games, driving rainstorms and 40ºF temperatures. That being said, how are you settling in? How are you enjoying Madison? Do you have any favorites right now? Do you and the lady have any favorites, restaurants, bars, places, things to do, things like that?

Mitch: Like you said, the weather hasn’t been great, so a lot of it has been spent indoors. But in saying that, when we’ve had a couple nicer days, we’ve got out to the zoo, which is fantastic. The kids love it. And as far as free public zoos go, it’s really good. We’ve got out to the children’s museum as well, taking them there. But to be honest, it’s been more focused on settling with the team and for me to really focus on preparing for games and I think once we get into more of a routine with the season and we don’t play every three days, we’ll have more time to do stuff. And when the weather breaks, I’ve been told by everybody about Madison in the summer.

Grant: It’s going to get hot. It’s gonna get hot, Mitch.

Mitch: We’re looking forward to it. We’re looking forward to it.

Grant: These games we’ve been playing in will be nothing but a distant memory.

Mitch: Yeah.

Grant: You mentioned your kids. How many kids you got? Ages, names?

Mitch: Sure. I got two. My oldest is Tristan and he is five. And then, my youngest is Isabelle and she is one and a half.

Grant: Okay. Excellent. I’m a dad myself, so yeah, I’ve been there, man. Tristan being five, this is a fun age.

Mitch: Yeah.

Grant: Yeah.

Mitch: It’s a fun age. He’s still that little boy, but-

Grant: Absolutely.

Mitch: … he’s old enough that he understands everything

Grant: He’s started to figure some stuff out, you know?

Mitch: Yes.

Grant: Exactly.

Andrew: Yeah. Kyle’s joining up here, so we’ll give him a second. We saw on Instagram you received your American citizenship yesterday. A, what does that mean to you? And B, is it worth the trade off of no longer being able to legally partake of Vegemite?

Grant: And C, can we officially call you Captain America now?

Mitch: I’m American so you can, of course. No, listen, I’m a dual citizen, so the Vegemite’s not going anywhere.

[Editor’s note: Vegemite isn’t actually illegal]

Grant: And Mitch, I got to say, I’ve had Vegemite.

Andrew: I love it.

Grant: A lot of people give a bad … It’s not … I got no complaints. I mean, it’s …

Andrew: And Marmite. I like both.

Kyle: The key thing is you just can’t treat it like it’s peanut butter.

Mitch: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Grant: Right.

Mitch: That’s the point. That’s the point.

Kyle: If you put a little on, it’s perfectly fine. It’s people that think that they just need to spread it like peanut butter, that’s going to go downhill for them.

Mitch: Because it’s salty, so you just taste a spoonful of black salt. A little bit of butter, a little bit of Vegemite, you’re good to go.

Andrew: Rounding back a bit, what does it mean to you to get your citizenship?

Mitch: It’s huge. It’s very, very special. I’m very proud. This country has given me the most important things in my life, which is my wife and my kids. I was married here, both my kids are born here, so we plan on living long term the rest of our lives in the US, so it just made sense for me to go through the process. It is a long process, but definitely worth it.

Grant: So if I’m reading you, right, the Genesis behind it was them [family].

Mitch: Yeah, absolutely. Even explaining it to my son, it was like, we’re all the same, you know?

Grant: Yeah. That’s cool. We’re all the same. Super dope, man. That’s super dope.

Mitch: No, I mean, and I love this country. I really do. I’ve been here for a little over seven years now, going on seven and a half years, and it’s been the best years of my life, honestly. It does fill me with pride. I’m very, very grateful that I have the opportunity to live my life in this country and now I have it be official.

Grant: So what makes Mitch Osmond tick off the pitch? What are you into? What are some hobbies, things that you enjoy to do? What makes you go?

Mitch: To be honest, I’m a big, big soccer nerd, you know what I mean?

Grant: Same as us.

Mitch: Yeah, yeah. Exactly, exactly. I’m no different to anybody else, man. I was a little kid that who was obsessed with football … Soccer, sorry.

Grant: You can call either one. It’s all good.

Mitch: I grew up playing at school and then coming home and then playing in the street with my friends in the neighborhood and then going to my organized practices. That’s all I did. And I would watch games wherever I could, whenever I could. And the time difference in Australia, you’re up at 2:00 o’clock in the morning to watch Premier League games and it was a no-brainer for me. And then, I just so happened to be a part of the small percentage that gets to do it for a living.

Grant: Was that something that you knew that you wanted to do when you were young?

Mitch: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. That was it for me. I was going to play. I would find a way to make a living from the game. And obviously, during setbacks, injuries, whatever, it never crossed my mind to leave the game. I was always going to be involved in some capacity. It’s just, right now, I get paid to do my favorite thing in the world. It’s the dream.

Andrew: You mentioned Premier League. Do you support an Australian football club and why is it Wanderers?

Mitch: Yeah, of course. Of course, it’s Wanderers.

Kyle: I accept that. I can accept it. It’s not Sydney FC.

Andrew: I know the youth club that you played for is 20 kilometers away from Wanderers stadium, so I just assumed.

Mitch: No, and that’s exactly right. I’d probably be a bigger fan than what I am if it was established a little earlier. Growing up, there was only Sydney FC in Sydney, but Sydney’s a very, very big place and the West of Sydney and East of Sydney are two very different places. It’s nice that now, we have a club that represents us in our area and the people that I grew up with. And then, I’ve got some friends on the team as well, which is always nice.

Kyle: I was going to ask, I don’t know if we’ve talked about it, do you follow National Rugby League or like National Rugby League? And if so, do you have a team for that?

Mitch: I’m obsessed with it. I’m a Sydney Roosters fan.

Kyle: Okay.

Mitch: That one is, I didn’t have a choice. My dad is a fanatical Roosters fan, so I was born a Roosters fan and I grew up with it. We’d go to the pretty much as many games as we could in the season. Yeah, it’s a part of our culture there. It’s so important to the people, especially in Sydney, it’s so big there. It’s probably one of the things that I definitely the most, is not being able to go to the games. And last time I went back, I did get a chance to go, so that’s always nice.

Kyle: I was going to say, National Rugby League is definitely one of those where I feel like it’s easy to follow, it’s easy to get into. And then, most of the teams, it’s easy to get an idea of what most of the teams, what they represent or at least the area, which I think was pretty cool.

Mitch: Yeah, for sure. For sure. And it’s a little different because there’s so many teams in Sydney. There aren’t that many teams outside of Sydney, but yeah, for the amount of support and following that each club has, it’s crazy when they can be literally down the road from each other, you know? So there can be a lot of divided households when it comes to NRL.

Grant: In the seven years that you’ve been here, what is your favorite thing about America? And what is the thing that you miss the most about Australia?

Mitch: Well, that I miss the most is my friends and family for sure.

Grant: How about a food item that you miss the most from? Yeah.

Mitch: Food? Oh, okay. Meat pies and sausage rolls. There was a grocery store in Oklahoma that actually sold meat pies. They weren’t great, but it was the real thing. So I missed that, but sausage rolls as well. That’s a big one.

Grant: Andrew makes a fantastic sausage roll, by the way.

Andrew: That’s true.

Mitch: Really?

Andrew: You got to get the puff pastry just right, though.

Mitch: That’s right. That’s right.

Grant: And I mean, Mitch-

Mitch: It’s got to be soft, but have a little bit of crispy on the outside.

Grant: Mitch, I lived in London for two years.

Mitch: Okay. So, same.

Grant: His are the best I’ve had since I lived there.

Mitch: Wow. Wow.

Andrew: I’ll make you a batch, bring them to a match.

Mitch: You let me know what beer you drink and we’ll do a trade.

Grant: Hey, I’m liking this. I’m liking this.

Kyle: I don’t know if I missed the beer talk because I know Mitch, you were saying in your video that you missed VB, one of the beers. What is your opinion on Tooheys? That was the other big question I wanted to ask you.

Mitch: Tooheys is good too. I like Tooheys. I think more, the Tooheys Extra Dry on a summer day crushes.

Kyle: Yeah.

Mitch: Absolute crushes.

Kyle: Yeah. I studied abroad in Australia 10 years ago, so I was able to get as much as I could in the four months I was there, but Tooheys was definitely the go to beer for me.

Mitch: You studied in Australia?

Kyle: Yeah. I was over in Lismore.

Mitch: Oh, okay. Wow.

Kyle: Yeah. Very tiny.

Mitch: Yeah, I was going to say it’s not a common destination for work and travel.

Kyle: No, no. Unless … There are definitely spots that you can go to and the Gold Coast thankfully, wasn’t too far. Neither was Byron Bay, but definitely, trying to make the trip to Sydney was a 12 hour train ride. Yeah.

Andrew: So Kyle, if you have other questions from Mitch, we kept kept him pretty busy for the first 15 minutes or so. I want to respect his time tonight because he’s got his lady and his kids at home. All we have left on the page is the lightning round questions, which are pretty simple, but very, very important.

Kyle: I do have an important one that I’ll ask: will New South Wales retain state of origin?

Mitch: Absolutely. Man, you know your stuff. You guys done your research, huh?

Kyle: I try follow NRL and everything in rugby league as much as I can because there’s not really a broadcaster in America that shows it.

Mitch: No, no. There’s Fox Sports, they do the international package, but if you’re not going to watch it a lot, it’s a lot of money, you know?

Kyle: It’s also very hard time wise to make it line up.

Mitch: Yeah, you’re going to be up at 2:00 o’clock in the morning, 3:00 o’clock in the morning to watch a game.

Kyle: Yeah. That was my rapid fire question.

Mitch: Well, yes, the answer is yes. They’re absolutely going to retain it.

Kyle: Cool.

Andrew: All right. Lightning round time. There’s three questions here. The first is, what music is currently on your heavy rotation? It could be a song, it could be a record, it could be anything. That’s question one. What are you listening to a lot right now? Second, what’s your favorite film and why? And the third is, what’s the last book you read and did you like it?

Mitch: Okay. First, I’m someone that likes a bit of every thing in terms of music. I’ll go full opposites depending on how I’m feeling that day, but I’d say the two that I’m listening to the most at the moment would be Chris Stapleton and Dermot Kennedy, so very different in genres, but very, very good artists.

Andrew: Yeah.

Mitch: And then, what was the second question again?

Andrew: Favorite film and why?

Mitch: Favorite film? American Gangster. Denzel Washington, man. That guy, he’s a beast.

Grant: My man.

Mitch: My man. Exactly. That movie is just so good.

Grant: Russell Crowe is great in that movie too. I mean, he’s so fucking good.

Mitch: I like movies based on true stories as well, so that’s got to be the number one for me.

Andrew: Final question is, what was the last book that you read and did you like it?

Mitch: Yeah, the last one I read was Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. I like him. He thinks in quirky ways, so it’s interesting. All of his books, actually, are quite good.

Grant: So Mitch, so you know, Sterling has now joined the call.

Kyle: I know Sterling’s not going to have any questions, but can he wave? Can you wave? No? You’re going to be shy? Okay,

Mitch: Come on. Give me something.

Grant: He’s like, “What do these guys a waving at me for?”

Kyle: He’ll demand I call someone and then as soon as I video call people, he won’t say a word.

Mitch: Not going to, huh? How old is he?

Kyle: Two.

Mitch: Two? Good age. Fun age. Hard work, but fun age.

Kyle: It’s definitely hard work, but it does have its fun. Okay, yeah. You good?

Grant: In honor of it in honor of Mitch, I was listening to this album today. This is Parcels.

Mitch: Parcels?

Grant: Parcels is a R&B funk band from Australia.

Mitch: Well, I don’t even know it. This is news to me.

Grant: Yeah. You should check them out, man. They’re really good.

Mitch: All right.

Grant: Yeah. This is their first album. I think they were 20 when they recorded it.

Mitch: Okay.

Grant: And the second song in particular, Tighten Up. It ends with jazz flute.

Mitch: There you go.

Kyle: I mean, come on man.

Mitch: Oh, actually I think Drew Conner asked me about them.

Grant: Yeah. They used to tour, their first tour was with Rufus Du Sol.

Mitch: Okay.

Grant: And I’m sure you know who Rufus Du Sol is.

Mitch: Nope.

Grant: That’s another Australian band and then it’s like, I got all these Australian bands I listen to like Tame Impala, you know who they are, right?

Mitch: No. (laughs)

Grant: Oh, come on!

Mitch: AC/DC?

Andrew: Mitch sounds like more of a working man’s music kind of guy.

Kyle: I don’t know. I don’t know. I could see Matt Corby in that rotation. Yeah. I think-

Grant: I see Mitch getting down. I think we’d be surprised. I think Mitch gets down.

Kyle: Yeah.

Grant: I think when the right beat beat hits, Mitch likes to get on the floor and go shake his groove thing.

Mitch: A couple VBs in and I’m going for it.

Grant: A couple VBs in, that makes anything possible. I mean, let’s be honest.

Andrew: Well, cool. Mitch, thank you so much for your time tonight. Like I said, I want to be respectful of your time. Hopefully, we get to chat again sometime soon and I’ll get those sausage rolls over to you as soon as possible.

Mitch: Hey, you guys are great. I really appreciate the detail of the questions. It’s nice. It’s nice.

Andrew: We’ll see you, hopefully, next time, Mitch. Have a great night.

Kyle: (to Sterling) Okay, tell them bye.

Andrew: And if you’re playing this weekend, good luck. Otherwise, we’ll see you against Fuego.

Mitch: Yeah, three points.

Andrew: All right.

Grant: Yes.

Andrew: Cheers, guys.

Kyle: Take it easy.

Mitch: Alright guys, thank you. Have a good night.

Andrew: You too.

Grant: Take care

Author

  • 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.

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