FRISCO, Texas - Let me start this story by offering my sincerest thanks to all the mothers around the world. To my wife, you are a true hero.
I always strive to be the best father I can possibly be, but as a professional athlete, I rarely get to spend this much time with my family. Being in my wife’s shoes for a change has been quite the experience. Let’s just say it’s hectic having to babysit a trio of kiddos – the oldest of which is just three years old.
Like many of you, my usual lifestyle has been flipped upside down. With Major League Soccer currently suspended, I’ve been promoted to a stay-at-home dad position.
I like to joke that being in this shelter in place is more difficult than my normal job. Don’t get me wrong, I love being at home with my family, but I’m exhausted to the point I’m actually falling asleep around 8 o’clock some nights. However, this extended family time has been incredibly special for me and I wanted to share some of these positives with you all.
I’m having so much fun playing outside with the kids. We’ll kick the soccer ball around, and it seems like they enjoy it quite a bit, which for me is a happy sight. I’ve especially been able to strengthen my bond with our one-year-old foster child. Being able to look into eyes and experience this unique time with him has been uplifting.
Outside of the kiddos, my wife and I have even found a new hobby: playing the piano. Neither of us really grew up playing instruments, but I have to say, it’s a very relaxing activity.
For myself, I’m finding more time to work on some home improvement projects, too. I like to flip and sell houses on the side, but I’ve never quite had enough time to simply focus on my own property. I finally got the chance to build a deck, something that I’ve been trying to get around to for a while now. I love the satisfaction handy work brings to the table once you complete a project. It feels good.
The time away from the sport has also helped me ease my mind and commune with God more than I was able to while we were still in season. As a Christian, this means so much to me. I’m able to read my Bible more and pray often. Any time we are put through trials like this, it can test our faiths, but I try to see the greater meaning in any situation.
This surreal time we find ourselves in has helped me challenge myself to not only be a better Christian, but a better husband and father as well. I hope the same can be said for you all, too. At the end of the day, nothing is more important than family and I am so grateful for the time I’ve been able to spend at home.
Now, this is not all to say I’m contemplating retirement or anything. This climate we currently find ourselves in has helped me realize just how much I love the sport of soccer. I miss being around my teammates all the time. I miss the Toyota Stadium crowds passionately cheering us on. I miss the competition. Most of all, I simply miss being able to wake up every morning and take my lifelong dream to new heights.
Sure, I’m doing my best to stay fit at home, but that simply does not compare to the joy I get from giving my all on the pitch. Those who hold this beautiful sport in their hearts understand the almost indescribable feeling you get when you’re locked in. But we have to be creative.
This isn’t easy. We’ve never faced a situation quite like this, but if you’re one of the many kids who isn’t able to enjoy the sport with friends, use this time to work on a new skill. Or, if you’re like me, use this time to work on your explosiveness and agility. Trust me, you’ll appreciate it once matches ultimately return.
I know we’re all anxious to get back to normal, but for now, let’s stay safe. If I can offer any advice, make sure to hold your loved ones close and use this time to reconnect with your biggest supporters.