So we owe you an apology. It’s been entirely too long since our last post! HOWEVER, they do say there’s a reason for everything and, well, we’d like to use that as our scapegoat this time around. Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been narrowing in on a new project. You may think we spend most of our time perfecting our game- working on deliveries into the box, goal kicks, dribbling with speed, coming out for aerial balls, and you’re right, that is true. Yet we also perfect the details of projects off the field as you are already aware! That being said, we have a special announcement to make:
AFTER JUST ONE POST ON OUR BLOG, the USL has reached out to the Saint Louis FC staff, as well as Jake and I, and have asked us to lead a league-wide podcast that will cover unique stories of players and their journeys!! We are stoked. It’d be cliche to write solely about soccer and how each player landed on two feet at their current teams so our goal is to give you something so stimulating it revitalizes your perspectives about not just players, but people all over the world. Wouldn’t you want to hear about a refugee from Congo, for example? To know us as soccer players, we believe you have to know us as people first. The previously mentioned theme was the entire idea behind the blog in the first place! Now, being paralleled with our blog, we will be producing a podcast once a week, through the USL’s From the Pitch platform that will air for the first time in just a couple weeks! We’re excited for this opportunity, and thankful for the collaboration efforts. But that’s also where you come in! While Jake and I feel confident about our content, it’s always of the utmost importance that we hear your feedback. So if you’re reading this blog, whether it be through a comment on wordpress, a tweet at either of us, or a direct message… please let us know if there’s a particular player you’d like to hear from or a certain theme! We’d love to understand and know what you want to be filled in about.
Now that we’ve caught our breath, let’s take a look back at it, at our trip, now a distant memory, to San Antonio.
Jake’s Questions for Austin:
Jake: Last week in blog #1 you asked me what my favorite road trip was. I’ll ask you a similar question with a twist. Speaking from and off the field experience how does this was line-up?
Austin: Not a quick answer, but gut reaction is top 10, potentially top 5. San Antonio had a lot to offer! Being able to explore the coffee scene and a local farmers market highlighted the trip. Even more so, an evening river walk with the team was captured well by freelance photographer Sam Fink. Dude is a stud with the lens when he’s not on the field.
Jake: Alrighty then, enlighten me, why do you think that?
Austin: When you’re on the road, you look at the schedule for the day and often you see five different things: 1) breakfast 2) a team walk 3) pre-game meal 4) meeting 5) and a whole lot of down time. Part of being a professional athlete is having a routine. Anytime you travel the chance for your routine to be thrown off increases greatly. So it’s important for me to do the same things as I would do as if I were at home. On game day, that still means waking up early and stimulating my mind with interests outside of soccer until the pre-game meal. For me San Antonio offered just that, a local coffee shop….
Jake: Hahaha just so everyone knows, we went to a coffee spot called Local Coffee. Austin thinks he’s funny with his puns. Sorry Aust for interrupting, please continue.
Austin: Always gotta be adding in a little something huh… anyway before I was rudely interrupted, a local coffee shop, a farmers market, and a river walk that resembled the alleyways and canals of Venice…. I know because I’ve seen pictures from my in-laws.
Jake: So you’re definitely excited to go to Vegas then?
Austin: If you’re referring to the Venetian, then yes, the thought of taking a gondola ride is exciting considering I just listened to Radio Lab’s Podcast episode titled Gondolier. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this podcast by the way. However, all decisions I make financially only hold 50% power. Remember, I’m married.
Jake: Well, maybe we will split it….. Just like we split all of our other ride shares, Mr. No Uber. Anyways, San Antonio Football Club has a pretty decent setup, don’t you think? Can you give us your impressions?
Austin: Great Set Up. It’s a bit in the middle of barren land- kind of off highway with a lot of spare land but it certainly creates a great atmosphere in Toyota Stadium. The stands are extra close to the field, and you feel you’re inside of a bowl with fans looking down in- almost a little like the Gladiator.
Jake: As our readers will quickly find out you’re very peculiar about what goes into your body, what did you pack in your “picnic basket” for this trip?
Austin: First let it be known, that I don’t follow a specific diet or trend. Nonetheless, everything i put into my body is a heavily researched and conscious decision. There will be a post about this later! For this trip, I woke up at 4:30am the day we traveled and immediately prepared meals for the trip. Which included zoodles with a curry ground veggie burger…
Jake: Definitely smelled that in the locker room before we left…. Go on….
Austin: … sweet potato fries, chicken and quinoa, a few pieces of fruit, Lara Bar Bites, Icelandic Dark Chocolate, and Spicy Cayenne Pumpkin seeds.
Jake: Let’s not forget the pizza you murdered after the game…. What made you realize you wanted to be a professional athlete? And when did you make this decision? As a kid, in high school or in college?
Austin: Well I will say the one exceptional is immediately after the game. With the amount of distance I cover and the load I put on my body, I feel it’s only fair to devour a pizza, or chipotle, or bowl of ice cream. It’s the one time in the week I allow myself to fall off the wayside.
Anyway, I definitely have a unique answer to this question. I was never sure if I wanted to become a professional athlete. I’ve always loved sports but I’ve also loved the freedom to pursue whatever I’m interested in. The more I read and learn about culture, I have interests in many corners of the spectrum, and world for that matter. I had actually committed to a year long volunteer internship with Grassroots Soccer. I was going to serve in South Africa and I was thrilled. I decided to become a professional athlete after an agent picked up his phone, rang me up, and offered to work on my behalf because he believed in me and knew I could make it. Now I’m in my 4th season as a pro soccer player.
Jake: Interesting! What keeps you grounded after a big win or a tough result?
Easily my faith in Jesus. Hebrews 12:11-13 says “For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems sad and painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness [right standing with God and a lifestyle and attitude that seeks conformity to God’s will and purpose]. So then, strengthen hands that are weak and knees that tremble. Cut through and make smooth, straight paths for your feet [that are safe and go in the right direction], so that the leg which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather may be healed.”
Sometimes a loss feels like a discipline but I know that I don’t work for results and I am not defined by wins and losses, let alone as a soccer player. I’m defined as a son in the Lord’s kingdom and He loves me no matter how I perform.
Austin’s Questions for Jake:
Austin: MY TURN to ask you some questions. San Antonio had a big crowd. How do you feel when you walk into a packed stadium? Does it change when it’s away? On that note.. What’s the biggest crowd you’ve played in front of?
Jake: I like big crowds. There’s a cool feeling knowing all these people are coming out to watch you play. Best part of a big crowd is the National Anthem. I love the song and I love the song even more when a bunch of people are singing it. The experience does change when you go and play away because the fans are a little more rowdy and not as nice. They say mean stuff, and often inappropriate things that I can’t say here on the blog.
Biggest crowd was 3-2 away win over Maryland in 2015. I think there were 10,000+.
Austin: Surely you can’t be offended by other’s hurled insults… but that’s unbelievable! What was your favorite moment off the field during the San Antonio trip?
Jake: Best part of the San Antonio trip, was doing the River Walk with the guys after dinner. Lots of good banter, bunch of good pictures taken by team photographer Sam Fink, and I think more importantly tons of great conversations. I remember discussing how many people we thought accidentally fell into to the water. Joey Calistri said less than 10. I chauffed because I know how reckless people get when they have a few too many margs on Cinco De Mayo. The tequila will getcha. Definitely in the 32ish range. If you’ve ever been to San Antonio the water isn’t the cleanest so I pity the people who’ve taken a diver, quite literally even. Or as Sam was telling us last year after OKC won, the owners son willingly jumped in with a friend. Yeah, no thank you.
Austin: Recently you’ve been reading more about nutrition… not because I’m your roommate and good friend or anything… but I’ve taken notice. What’s the most important habit you think you need to change or create to start being more intentional with your food?
Jake: Yeah, I’ve read two books in the last week and half about what types of food we should be eating. The first book was Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe. To summarize it shortly he discusses the pros of getting attuned with nature eating locally sourced fruits and vegetables because those foods have microbiomes which serve to protect you from locally sourced sickness and disease. His other big no-nos, I’m starting to agree with, are gluten and sugar.
The other book was What to Eat by Marion Nestle a nutritional scientist at Columbia University in New York. She runs through pretty much every question you can think of when it comes to food. It’s a little outdated written in 2005 and published in 2006, but otherwise a solid read, especially if you feel a little overwhelmed in the supermarket. I think the most important thing I learned from both of these authors is to read the label of the food you’re going to buy. If it’s more than four basic ingredients is going to be difficult to digest causing bloating and other nefarious symptoms (aka weight gain).
The Irony about the last answer Jake gave is that we’re sitting here enjoying a couple of beers. And we feel that’s totally acceptable too. Sometimes feeding your joy is more important than feeding your gut, am i right?
Stay Tuned, because a post we feel extremely passionate about is coming soon, and I think you Louligans will want to read it…
This Interview took place sometime in early April at Side Project Brewery, St. Louis, MO while bonding over a Shared brewing project called Base Weight as well as a Side Project Rose de Ble Blend. Big fans we gave it a 4 out of 5! Go support local breweries and businesses! Beer in mind, Enjoy Responsibly Friends!