When did you fall in love with the game? I have played since I was in kindergarten. Where I grew up, I really didn't have exposure to the game outside of playing YMCA soccer and then in high school. The only professional soccer I saw growing up was when other kids would bring VHS tapes of Maradona highlights to summer soccer camps. The first pro game I ever attended was during a work trip to the UK when I saw Coventry City beat Crystal Palace at Highfield Road. Then I really understood what passion for the sport looked like. Seeing my kids grow up in the sport and watching them enjoy an up-close perspective with AFCAA has brought my love up another notch.
What is your role within the organization? I started the club, which is easily the most ambitious thing I have ever taken on. Thankfully, I brought on an amazing group of co-owners early on who have really shaped the club into what it is now. I serve on the board and help with some of the day-to-day operations. While the other owners all work in businesses that connect to the club's operations in many ways, I feel like I'm responsible for bringing the enthusiasm. I'm always trying to think about where we want to go as a club in the future.
What do you love most about this club? It's hard to nail down to just one thing. I love the games. I spend the weeks during the season just waiting for the weekend so we can get to the next one. I spend the offseason waiting for opening day. But I also love getting to know the players. Seeing my kids interact with them. Learning about where they come from and where they are off to next. I love how many people I have gotten to know in our community. Co-owners, fans, people in the soccer community, they are all people I didn't know before and who I now consider good friends.
How do you share this experience with your family? We all love attending the games. We try to sit together in the stands and enjoy the atmosphere and the game among friends, but I often have to get up and scramble around the stadium helping with things. We get to know the players through club events, so the kids get to know the guys over the summer. Sometimes they even get some training from the players on the side. In the offseason, we often spend a meal just talking about ideas about the club. It's a big part of our lives as a family.
What has been the biggest surprise to you in the 3 + years of being involved with AFC? I don't know if it is so much a surprise as something that I hoped would happen: that we are really a part of the community now. I see cars with AFC Ann Arbor stickers around town. I see kids at school in jerseys. People stop me on the street to ask how the roster is looking for the coming season. More and more people are aware of the team and are becoming not just fans, but supporters. This #AFCAAFamily experience has shown how much our club means to the community, and that's blown my mind.
What is your most memorable moment since starting the club? My wife Constance put it best: lying in bed the night of our home opener in 2015 thinking "I can't believe that we started this little project and over 2000 people came out to be a part of it."
Oh yeah, and the comeback against Lansing in 2016. Can't forget that one. :)