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

Eric Leonard: Mr. Forward Madison

Photo: Justin Nuoffer

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. If you’re a Patreon subscriber ($5/mo), you can listen to the interview audio in full.

Eric:  Thank you for… Thanks for doing this earlier, guys. I need to be a good fiancé. I got to go to… Carley’s got her championship game tonight.

Andrew: Oh, shit.

Grant: Championship game for what?

Eric: Co-ed. Got to be got to be dutiful and do my job.

Grant: Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah, absolutely.

Grant: 100% good.

Eric: How you doing, guys?

Andrew: Good, good. Yeah. It’s finally sunny here, which is great.

Eric: Right?

Andrew: It’s not Belize, but at least the sun’s out.

Eric: I was going to say, how is it being home? You’re probably…

Andrew: My tan was gone immediately. One day without the sun and it was right back to looking like a stand-in for the movie Powder. No, I never get that pale, it was… Every day, when I looked at the weather and there was like the UV number or whatever, UV rating was like off the charts, basically. Even I had to apply sunscreen multiple times every day.

Eric: We had one sunny day today and look at me. I’m burnt.

Andrew: I know.

Eric: I don’t know what to tell you guys.

Andrew: You just got to set a base. That’s it.

Eric: I know. I really do. I really do.

Andrew: You got to start in February. Hit up the tanning beds. Get it out the way.

Eric: Oh God, Grant. Come on, man. I don’t know, man. That’s tough.

Grant: I mean, you…

Eric: Think about what Andrew’s saying over here.

Andrew: Grant doesn’t need to. Grant gets like five minutes of sun and he’s just a golden brown for the rest of the year.

Grant: Thank you, mom and my… and the Lebanese. This is one of the advantages of being Mediterranean, as Zach can attest to as well.

Eric: Sure.

Grant: You know? Yeah. Couple of minutes in the sun. Golden brown.

Andrew: Right.

Grant: So, what you guys are talking about, I’m sorry. I don’t really… I don’t really understand.

Eric: Tough life, man.

Andrew: It is. It is.

Grant: Yeah.

Andrew: Well, okay. Well, so we wanted… We want Eric, this is… I don’t even know how many times this is that you’re joining us so far this season, but we really appreciate it.

Eric: I love this stuff. You know that.

Andrew: Yeah. We wanted to chat with you specifically this week because… and I don’t know how much you pay attention to this. It may not even have registered with you, but your next start will make you the most capped player in club history at seventy-

Eric: Really?

Andrew: At 73 appearances. So, if you start this weekend, you’ll have more caps than who you’re tied with right now, with Connor Tobin.

Eric: Right. Wow.

Source: Transfermarkt

Andrew: What does that mean to you, hearing that, internalizing it?

Eric: Honestly, I had no idea. By starting, obviously, I’m just grateful. When it comes to professional soccer, it’s tough to find loyalty with clubs because there’s so much competition for spots. But for the reason… One of the main… biggest reasons I’ve stayed here for four years is, not only is I have felt like I’ve grown as a player, but I feel like this city’s accepted me. It’s given a lot to me and, not to be cheesy, but it definitely is an honor. Being able to play for the same club for four years, for 70 plus games, is not something I think many players can say they’ve done, especially at one club. So for me, it’s definitely, like I said, it’s an honor. I’m very grateful and hopefully we can keep getting that number as higher. I think… I don’t know if I ever told you, but one of my goals when I started playing was, how cool would it be to get 100 appearances at the club? To me that would be so-

Andrew: You might hit it this year.

Eric: Right?

Grant: Yeah.

Eric: I definitely could. That’s why… this one is definitely cool, though. I didn’t even realize that until you just said that.

Grant: If you hit 100 appearances, we have to figure out some way we’re going to celebrate this occasion.

Eric: Sure.

Andrew: Yeah, absolutely.

Eric: And then what do I do? Just hang up cleats. Just-

Grant: No, I… you keep going. We have a celebration and then you just keep going.

Eric: I like it.

Grant: And then we plan the celebration for 125.

Eric: Sure. I love it. Just to fully answer Andrew’s question, yeah, man. It’s an honor. This club has, regardless of results, it has done a lot for me. It’s… This city is… I want to live here now, for my life. I love what this city has done for me not only on the field, but off the field as well. It’s created a family-like culture for me, but also bringing my own family into this city. It’s something very cool and not something many players can say they develop over their career.

Grant: Perhaps not a shocking question here. You also lead the club in yellow cards.

Eric: I knew it. I knew it. I knew it. Honestly, when Andrew started talking, I thought that’s what he was going to say. Yep, after the last game, it’s got to be. It’s just got to be.

Grant: So, do you believe, or do you think, that this is a deserved accolade to be leading the club in yellow cards?

Andrew: All I’m going to say is I’ve had some soft yellows. Let me tell you. Last week’s yellow-

Grant: Which is, yes.

Andrew: Come on, man.

Grant: 100%… 100% fair.

Eric: That’s my first tackle in the beginning of the game. Come on. You can’t call that.

Grant: No. 100% fair.

Eric: But, it’s… I think it makes sense. So, I’ll leave it there and not respond any other way.

Andrew: Okay. We’re now four games and obviously it’s still very early in the season, but the results… You mentioned earlier trying to get some Ws, but the results haven’t been as good as they could be. How’s it feeling in the locker room? What’s the mood been like amongst players and coaching staff over the last week or so?

Eric: Yeah. I definitely don’t think it’s as super happy as the first game of the season, which makes sense. We haven’t won a game yet. But I will say I am surprised the level of… It had… I really did think it was going to drop after that loss because it’s, tie, tie, tie, loss. Are some heads going to drop? I’ll be honest with you, I think the coaches did a great job in recruiting these guys past just soccer players, because the mentality of our group has actually been really positive. I think guys believe that we have the quality. I think you guys see that we have the quality. Now, it’s just combining for the final product. I mean, we haven’t gotten broken down defensively through us to get scored on. We just have to clean up some silly mistakes here and there and start finishing on the other side. I think we’re going to be… I told you. I haven’t changed my opinion. I still think we’re a championship team.

Andrew: Yeah. I tend to agree. I think part of this comes down to… I mentioned this the other day I was talking with Grant and some other folks. It’s obviously a one off thing, but you look at a team like the Colorado Rapids. The year that they won the MLS cup, they were definitely not even in the top six, I don’t think, before the playoffs started.

Grant: They were the last. They were the last team in. They got in and they got in because they had to score four goals the last day and they scored six.

Andrew: Obviously, we don’t want to get to that point, but it is… It’s a bit cliche, but it’s that whole idea of like getting hot at the right moment. I know it’s easy for fans to kind of jump to conclusions, especially pretty early on. Especially with a team… When we looked at it after this last game, especially when I did my recap of it was, wow, we really haven’t had a consistent starting 11 even throughout preseason.

Eric: Sure.

Andrew: How, how important do you think that is to finding some cohesion as a team?

Eric: You have to learn people’s tendencies. It absolutely is important. Without cohesion, you’re kind of… you’re guessing in terms of trying to remember what this player’s like. Is it a wing back who dribbles inside? We put Mateus Cassini sometimes on the right, but we have to remember that he’s a lefty so he can drive inside versus someone like Rojay, Alvin, Derek, who, if they’re getting the ball, they’re bee-lining and then they’re probably going to cross or take the guy one V one. I do think… So, cohesion is important and I think once we can secure that first win, secure that first result, getting to learn each other’s tendencies will then come with time, as in any successful team.

Grant: All right. So, we got Richmond coming up this weekend. Henny Derby, which is obviously a big one for us. Games with Richmond are usually pretty physical affairs and, like I mentioned, it being the Derby, it means a lot to the fans. Does it have the same weight for players or is this game more just about going out and getting just the three points?

Eric: I think for sure, over-arching theme, let’s get the three points regardless of who we play. Even if we’re in this position, like we want the win. However, personally, it absolutely is a… Darren Sawatzky, the coach of Richmond, you know how he prepares his guys. It’s, they are balls out to the wall. I’m going through this guy. That’s exactly how I play. I want to match and I want to show him, listen, Madison’s doing it more than you. We’re going to bring the heat even more because playing in Richmond is another environment that teams are, Oh man, we got to go play in Forward Madison, home environment. Man, their fans are crazy. Nowhere near to the extent, but Richmond does have a good fan base. You know it’s going to get rowdy. You know they’re going to be yelling.

So for me, it’s definitely a per… Every time we’ve been there, it’s been a close game. I’m excited for this game. I like the physical aspect of how they play because it pushes. Hopefully, it’ll… For us, it’ll be like, you know what, let’s match that and even come out stronger. So, I’m excited. Good old Henny Derby. But I’d like to take this one home this time. We have some unfinished business from last year.

Grant:  Yeah. Andrew, do you remember when the last time that we won the Derby was?

Eric: Oh, man.

Andrew: I don’t off the top of my head, but I was at the last game. I know that much.

Grant: Well, yeah. I think it was-

Andrew: You were, too.

Grant: Yeah. Was it 2020?

Andrew: Yeah. It was.

Eric: Had to have been because the last game was three to two. Remember that we lost that at their place. Yeah. 2020 for sure. Geez. Yeah, we have some unfinished business guys.

Grant: Yeah. Time to bring it home.

Andrew: Yeah.

Grant: It’s coming. It’s coming home.

Andrew: I hope so. All right. You’ve been with the team a little over three years, fourth year. How has your role in the team changed and where do you think you’ve grown the most as a player and a person over the last three plus years?

Eric: I think in terms of responsibility, I feel like I’ve been given more, which is a positive thing. Normally, I’m a player that usually puts my head down and leads through example. The work ethic, blue collar mindset, I think is how I’ve tried to put myself on the field, but also off the field. I think as my years have progressed in Madison, it’s turned from not taking anything away from my play on the field, but can I have a… Can I have a voice in the locker room?

Andrew: Right.

Eric: Can I have a voice on the field now where it’s not just my play, but it’s a bit more of organization? I’m playing a very different role this year, specifically, than I am in other years. For example, this year I’m intercepting more versus tackling.

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: This year I’m more organizing versus releasing and going up and defending one-v-one, unless it’s one of my outside center backs gets beat. So, I think that there’s been a maturity to my game in terms of what… I mean comes down to what the coaches have given me in terms of responsibility. That has grown each year, which I think I’m happy about. I feel like I’ve developed as a player from that aspect.

Andrew: What about as a person?

Eric: Yeah. Without a doubt. 2019, I come in as a rookie. I want to do everything right. I just want to, the Connor Tobin, JC Banks, I just want to make sure I’m following them, doing what they want. Also to impress Conor Caloia, Daryl Shore, the coaches. Now, I feel like I have a sense of, okay, we’ve got some younger guys on the team. Maybe their eyes are on me. I really feel that I want to carry myself in a way that represents the club of all ages. That this is how we hold our standards here at Forward Madison. This is how we hold our standards, even when we’re not getting the results, nothing changes. I think I’ve wanted to… I think I’ve always wanted to do that, but I feel it more so now as I’m getting older and I’m in this responsibility role with Mitch and Andrew, where more eyes are on you. I think it’s important, even more important, that I continue to be that leadership face, to help the guys, however I can, whether it’s on the field or off the field.

Grant: So, in saying that, let’s think back to your playing time in Australia.

Eric: Sure.

Grant: How did that experience prepare you as a person and a player and did it help prepare you for a career here in Madison?

Eric: Yeah, absolutely. I think it did because when you go to play college soccer, you’re with the same coach normally, if nothing happens, for four years. So, you start to get a relationship. Going to Australia was the first time a transition of, okay, I’m only going to be here one year, two years. I don’t know, but I’m playing for a new coach. So it’s, how can you adapt right away to a new coach? How can you adapt and continue to grow even if you don’t get along with him? I think one of the most important things that Australia got me ready for was that at the professional level, it is very unlikely that you are going to play for the same coach over your entire career. If it is, that’s… Honestly to me, it’s a miracle, but you’re going to have coaches who love you, and you’re going to have coaches who you don’t get along with, but you need to find a way to make sure you’re on the field and impacting the game.

Gold Coast football: Nerang's US midfielder Eric Leonard eyes pro deal |  Gold Coast Bulletin
Nerang FC, 2018

I’ve had great relationships with every coach here at Forward Madison, thankfully; however, I’ve still had to prove myself to each coach. Matt had no idea who I was. It’s not like, oh, Eric Leonard’s been here for three years. Here’s the captain arm band. Here’s your starting position. No, none of that. One of the… I agree that Mitch Osmond should be captain. He’s a veteran. He’s a leader. There’s a lot of things from each year to year that I think started back with my transition to Australia, that I had to get these… I had to get this in order. I had to figure out how this was going to be at every club I was at. If that makes sense.

Andrew: That’s a good answer.

Grant: Absolutely.

Andrew: You mentioned college. What influenced your decision to go to Butler University? Was there something in particular that drew you to manservantry, being a butler?

Eric: No. Originally, I was… School’s a very important part of my life. I wanted to go do a program that offered a major that was what I was focused in. So, I was focused in biomedical engineering at the time and Purdue had the dual degree program so I could do that in Indy. Ironically, I switched majors my sophomore year to applied mathematics. So, it was between IU and Butler and I chose Butler because IU does not have an engineering program. That’s kind of how that drew there. Then, in terms of Midwest schools, Indiana is always a very competitive state, just along with Illinois, Wisconsin, all those… All these Midwest states are very competitive with soccer. The coach from Butler was an overseas guy from Liverpool, England. He was all about promoting his players, to come in through the process and then keep going pro. So, that was also another thing. I was, okay, maybe this guy has some connections.

Andrew: That definitely wasn’t the answer I was expecting from the way that the question was worded, but-

Eric: Really did I answer… Uh-oh, did I answer wrong?

Andrew: Oh no, no. I feel… I’ve heard Barnum and Bailey College has a really good physics program.

Eric: Sure.

Andrew: It’s not surprising you were able to get a good math degree out of school for butlers.

Eric: Yeah. So, and I think it was more so just setting me up. I knew I wanted to get my masters. So, I was actually lucky that Butler had a relatively good mathematics program because if they didn’t, I would’ve had to transfer schools and that’s the nightmare.

Grant: The question I have is, what year did you graduate from Butler, then?

Eric: Because I wanted to be ready for, and eligible for, the 2017 MLS draft… I’m sorry, I guess that would be the 2018 MLS draft. I graduated in three and a half years so I packed on credits during summers, early on. I tore my ACL my freshman year so instead of going to play PDL, like the other years, I actually knocked out 12 credits that summer, rehabbing and doing college credits. I was able to finish a double major in three and a half years. Which-

Grant: Yeah. Were you there when the basketball team was going crazy, too?

Andrew: Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Oh, my gosh. Back with Chris Holtmann.

Grant: You were in school when Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack and all those guys were there?

Eric: My freshman year.

Grant: So, the year that they went to the final was your freshman year.

Eric: It was… That entire experience as a freshman, getting to go to Hinkel Fieldhouse for the basketball games, was incredible.

Grant: Which, if you’re a basketball fan at all-

Eric:  Yeah.

Grant: You have to, at some point in your life, go to Hinkel Fieldhouse.

Eric: I didn’t appreciate it-

Grant: I mean, because they filmed Hoosiers there. Right?

Eric: That’s right. That’s right.

Grant: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah. I definitely didn’t appreciate that until I was at Butler.

Grant: Yeah.

Eric: I morphed into a basketball fan, for sure, just because of the school.

Grant: Awesome. Awesome. All right. Let’s going to have some fun questions here for you. First one, the zombie apocalypse is coming.

Eric: Oh God, here we go.

Grant: Okay. Who are three people from this current squad that you can take with you and why?

Eric: Okay. Number one: Mitch Osmond, for sure. I’m picking three different players besides myself. Very good relationship him with him. Me and him connected early on in the year.

Grant: He seems like the kind of like the rugged outdoorsman too, that you want. Yeah.

Eric: Oh, my gosh. He was teaching me how to… He just knows everything about, not only nature, but in terms of cars, how to jumpstart a car with nothing. He knows it all. So, he’s someone that want to survive with, number one. Number two: Phil Breno. Got to choose Phil. One of my closest friends on the team, always in positive spirits, even when things get tough. He’s someone I want in my corner, number two. And then, number three, and another one I’ve probably connected with very closely on the team: Andrew Wheeler. Got a lot of talents. The guy has a lot of talents and he’s smart as well. So, I just feel in terms of collectively, we’ve got a group of guys who can figure out how to survive.

Grant: All right

Eric: And he can sing. He’s got a great voice. So there’s your-

Grant: You never know. That might get you out of a pinch at some point.

Eric: Exactly. So those are my three guys. I’m choosing: Mitch, Phil and Wheels.

Grant: All right.

Andrew: Okay. Next question. The rest of these are fun or silly. One of them pretty serious, but we’ll get there. What’s your most used emoji?

Eric: Oh, my God. That’s easy. It’s the face with the drop. Hold on. I mean, what is that?

Andrew: Oh, like you’re sweating?

Eric: The sweating, yeah.

Andrew: Yeah. Hey, did you… Like Carley? Hey, did you do the dishes this morning? I’m just sending that every time. Stuff like that. Yeah. That’s definitely my… I can tell you for sure. Let me check. Yeah. It’s my most used emoji. That and then napping face is next.

Grant: We have, after seeing the greatness that is the lip-syncing video of Lil Wayne’s The Carter from Mr. Carter, obviously your fashion choices in that were amazing.

Eric: Thank you.

Grant: But what was the worst style choice that you’ve ever made?

Eric: This can go back to like elementary school, if you want.

Grant: I mean, this can go back to elementary school but we can’t blame your mom for putting you in something stupid. It has to be something that you decided to do.

Eric: I will be honest with you. I don’t think my fashion actually got… I’m going to stand up for myself. I don’t think my fashion got good until 2020. Meaning, I like how I dress now. 2020 on, I feel like my wardrobe, I can go in and I look good, for me.

Grant: So, you had that pandemic glow up. Nice.

Andrew: Was that… Well, so question. Did that have anything to do with the amount of stick Ryan Coulter gave you during the 2019 season?

Eric: Come on, man. If you don’t think that had anything to do with it, then you don’t know me at all. Coulter will still comment on an outfit I’m wearing that looks good and say it looks bad. So yes, absolutely. I used to… oh God. In elementary school, obviously, you’re a kid. You love soccer. I wore the same, but switched off between two or three, the sweatpants like Adidas or Nike sweatpants with a different soccer jersey every day to school. Every single day. It’s an Adidas sweatpants, a Nike soccer Jersey, Puma shoes. I’m just cross branding everything. Terrible.

Grant: Which is illegal. You can’t do this.

Eric: You can’t do that.

Grant: You can’t do this. I tell my kids this every day in school, you cannot do this. You have to stay with the same brand. If you got Jordan sweatshirt on, you got to have Jordans shoes on. That’s the way it works or Nike shoes at least.

Eric: And that’s what I noticed now. Honestly, I never thought I would, but like, even with my diff… My changes in my wardrobe, I notice those things. When someone’s dropping Puma socks with shorts on and Nike shoes. Man, you can’t do that. You can’t do that.

Andrew: No.

Grant: No. At all.

Andrew: All right. Next one. If you had your own late night talk show, you were just given this job, who do you invite as your first guest? Could be anybody.

Eric: Honestly, probably Christian Enriquez and you probably wouldn’t have guessed that.

Andrew: Probably not. Yeah, no.

Grant: No.

Andrew: I wouldn’t.

Eric: Quez is very quiet, but when you catch him at the right moments, he is one of the funniest guys. For sure, one of the funniest guys and he has these comments that, if you’re not paying attention, you won’t understand it. You’re in a group of people and he’ll make a comment. You’ll realize like it’s a dis at someone. I’ve started to pick up on them and I’ve gotten kind of close with him this year. I feel like he has a good story and he’s an absolutely nasty player on the ball. He’s probably my first choice as of right now.

Photo: Don Newton

Grant: Nice.

Eric: I know, surprising answer.

Grant: So you have… This is not… You cannot lip-sync now.

Eric: Okay.

Grant: You have to sing karaoke. I’m not saying you have to do this now. This is part of the question. So, you have to actually sing karaoke. What song are you picking? We all have one, right? Like I know my song.

Eric: Sure.

Grant: I Got the World on a String by Frank Sinatra’s mine. What’s yours?

Eric: Everybody by Backstreet Boys.

Grant: Nice.

Eric: It’s like this. It’s like that. I know it. That’s it. Everybody by Backstreet Boys, for sure. I’m going to see them this year.

Grant: Yes. You said that on the last time, right?

Eric: I know.

Grant: Where are you going to see them at?

Andrew: We are going, I think it’s one of the days we have off. We got tickets to Summer Fest, I think.

Grant: Yeah. They’re I was going to say they are at Summer Fest this year. Yeah.

Eric: Yeah. Yeah. I’m excited. It’ll be good.

Andrew: All right. If a movie was made of your life, what genre would it be and who would play you?

Eric: Rom-com, for sure. Rom-com. I feel like it would be Ryan Reynolds. Yes. Someone who’s got good hair. Who’s-

Grant: I mean, you don’t have to pick someone with good hair, Eric.

Eric: No, but listen. But listen, though.

Grant: Besides, Eric, we need to have this conversation. When are we going to let this go?

Eric: Oh my God.

Grant: And bring the clippers out.

Eric: I’ve got news for you guys. I was literally walking in the store with Carley the other week.

Grant: Yeah.

Eric: You know what? Do you want to try hair product? So, I might actually like try something here in the next couple months, man. Just to check it out.

Resident Advisor on Twitter: "RIP Keith Flint of The Prodigy 1969-2019" / Twitter

Andrew: He could end up looking like Keith Flint from Prodigy (RIP). You don’t know, Grant.

Grant: Yes, I do, Andrew. Yes, I do.

Eric: Grant, your head is so clean, though. Listen, I have so many scars from getting headers and cracked open.

Grant: So do I! Dude, Andrew’s seen my head. It doesn’t matter, man. It’s just about the confidence of being able to say, hey, this happened. It’s okay. You’ve got other good features. You got to like… It will accentuate those.

Eric: Right. I got to keep the beard going. You’re right. You’re right. But I do think a rom-com-

Grant: I’m just saying, if it happens, we have to do it. We’ll do something with NDZ where I’ll actually be the one that’s-

Eric: Perfect.

Grant: Like a brotherhood. I’ll be entering you in.

Eric: I love that. I love that. You guys got my back on this. Okay, good.

Grant: Andrew, you know my answer to this question. If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? What’s my answer, Andrew.

Andrew: I’m going to say falafel.

Grant: That’s a bingo. So what’s yours, Eric? If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Andrew: Every day.

Grant: Every day. Literally, I could eat falafel every day for the rest of my life-

Eric: I think I know what it is.

Grant: and that would be cool.

Eric: I think I know what it is. It’s pizza.

Andrew: What kind of pizza we talking? What kind of pizza are we talking?

Eric: Pepperoni.

Andrew: Pepperoni?

Grant: That’s a solid choice, man.

Eric: To me… I love deep dish. I love thin crust. I love thick crust.

Grant: Think about it. If you got a pepperoni pizza for the rest of your life, with what you just said, you could literally get a different kind of pizza because you could get Chicago style, Detroit style, the Chicago Tavern thin crust. You could get New York style with the fold. You could go like the whole week getting a different kind of pie, man.

Andrew: It’s very versatile food.

Eric: Exactly.

Grant: 100%.

Andrew: That’s a good answer. All right. Last question we’ve got here. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Eric: Oh, I need a second. Yeah, it actually comes from my dad who’s not a soccer player, has very limited soccer knowledge, but has been watching the game now for as long as I’ve been playing. I think, back in high school, he told me this. It’s kind of stuck with me throughout my career. I don’t know who says this quote, but he used to say it to me all the time. It’s, do what others won’t today so you can do what others can’t tomorrow. I think for me, a lot of the times with this career choice, you kind of just have to take a leap of faith and say, okay, this is the next thing. I’m just going to attack it. That for me has so many different parts of my career, whether it’s playing the sixth position and transitioning to a center back or a right back, taking that leap.

That’s one side of the thing… the coin, but the other side is in terms of doing what others won’t today. A lot of the people…. It’s, are you going to get up? Jocko Willink. Are you going to get up and go to the gym? Are you going to get up and finish your schoolwork or finish your masters while you’re playing professional soccer? To me, that just has so much application to my life in general and who I want to be as a man, as I continue to develop over the next couple years, as I start to maybe have a family down the line. I would say that’s the biggest piece of advice.

Andrew: That was Jerry Rice who said that.

Eric: Jerry Rice. That’s who it is, man. I need to tell my dad that. Been feeling that from him for a while.

Grant: He was all right. He was pretty good.

Andrew: Yeah. He’s made a few pro bowls, I think.

Eric: Just a couple.

Grant: Might hold a few records still.

Andrew: Well, what’s your… what’s the plan for this weekend? Obviously, we heard Mitch talking on Talkin’ Flock today about how the squad seems very, very convinced that things are going to start clicking, even as soon as this weekend. It feels like it’s the next game away, is what he said.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: How are the guys feeling ahead of this game this weekend?

Eric: I think we just need to get the flood gates open. I think once we get that goal and you’re going to continue to see the confidence. I mean, if you’ve talked to Mitch, you know that when he was at OKC, they didn’t win a game for the first eight games of the season and they ended up turning it around and having the best… the next 22 games, they had the best record in the entire USL championship.

I haven’t been a part of something like that, but I do feel that we are at a very crucial part of our year and it’s the beginning, which is so amazing because we have the talent. We’re not getting blown away in games. We have the possession and it’s now just connecting the pieces. I think this weekend is the perfect game to do it. We’re not on our home turf so we’re going to have to… We have nothing to lose, again. We’re going to another stadium and we’ve got a group of 18 guys who I think are ready to get the job done. It’s simple as that. It’s whoever’s on the field, whatever the lineup is, it’s just one thing. It’s just get the job done and get three points. We need to start finding ways to grind out wins. It doesn’t need to be pretty. We just need to grind them out.

Andrew: Yeah. I would agree 100% with that. Well, Eric, we want to respect your time tonight. We’re a few minutes over. I just want to thank you so much for joining us. It’s been fun. Always is.

Eric: Always guys.

Andrew: Yeah, we should get together sometimes soon and throw some golf discs or something and just shoot the shit.

Eric: Love that. Yeah. Let’s… maybe even after this weekend or whenever let’s go grab a drink or just hang out and catch up in person. That’d be nice.

Andrew: Let’s do it, man.

Grant: Lovely. Let’s do it.

Eric: All right guys. Thanks again.

Andrew: See you.


  • 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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