When I was little, I honestly did not like sports. I was much more interested in books and the arts. I was not an active child. I really did not like sports. I had no interest in watching or participating. None. I can not empathize with this point enough. I would probably say I hated sports. So how did a kid who hated sports, end up getting a reputation as a sports journalist?
First, I fell in love with dance and gymnastics. It captivated me because I saw it as art. I loved the idea of creating art with my whole body. I started to teach myself in my bedroom. One of my friends was in dance, and I used that to eventually start taking dance classes. My favorite was acrobatic dance since I got to combine gymnastics and dance. After a serious ankle injury, I was forced to stop. It was heartbreaking for me. I still miss it.
In terms of my love for football, or soccer, I can pinpoint the exact moment I started to fall in love with the sport. I saw the end of the 2010 World Cup final. It was the first international sporting event outside of the Olympics that I had ever seen. The emotion of the Spanish after they won captivated me and I was hooked. I started occasionally watching the Men’s and Women’s national team’s major matches after that. I remember the 2012 Olympics very clearly. What really hooked me though, was the 2014 and 2015 World Cups.
The USMNT and Manchester City
As I got more involved in the world of football, I began to fall completely in love with the Men’s National Team. There was just something about this group that drew me to them. It was their fight and determination. The US has never been a dominate force globally, but they team fought hard against the best of the best. They never gave up. I loved that. It pulled me in. When things went wrong in 2017, I was heartbroken and angry. Everything that I loved about the USMNT didn’t seem present anymore. However, I also saw a glimmer of hope. I knew there were many promising youth players coming. I knew Christian Pulisic was not the only one. I took comfort in the fact that they were simply not ready yet, and that one day they would be, and it would be wonderful.
I did not really intensely follow club football until a few years ago. My focus was mainly on the national team. That said, I was aware of Manchester City. I remember seeing the news in 2012 after Kun’s goal, and honestly, I think it was seeing that goal that sealed the deal for me. It was that emotion again. The same emotion that I saw in 2010 when Spain won the World Cup. When I started to pay more attention to the club side, there was only one team that took my heart. I loved the story of the club. In many ways the club’s history reminded me of the USMNT. A club that was not the best, but had so much heart. A club that has grown into a giant thanks to wise investment and an owner who cares. The story of my club is what drew me to it. Rival fans love to say we have no history, but we do have history. A very special history. It is that unique history that drew me to the club.
Twitter and Community
I began to be fairly active on my Twitter account about two years ago. I started to build a following just Tweeting about what I loved, the USMNT. I started to get connected with some others that were interested and we began having conversations and enjoying the game together. Things started to get more intense when my brother and I decided to start a podcast. We did our first episode at the conclusion of the 2019 Gold Cup, and then left it until October of 2019.
Every USMNT fan probably knows what “October 2019” means-Canada 1. Officially the Concacaf Nations League group stage away leg against Canada in Toronto. The USMNT lost to Canada that night 2-0. The first loss against them in over 30 years. Tyler and I brought the podcast back the day after that match with an hour and half long rant of an episode. It is our most popular to this day. After that we started putting more regular podcasts out. I would not say that is where I started becoming a journalist, but it set up the Twitter meeting that did.
I remember vividly the day the roster came out for the November 2019 camp. I was in the hallway at my university waiting on a meeting to start with a professor when I saw it. I remember being so angry and starting a group chat with a few friends that ended up with something like 25 members talking about making a change at US Soccer. I ended up writing a several page article outlining the fan’s concerns and outrange with US Soccer Federation and the USMNT based on the conversations in that group chat. We organized the boycott of the home leg against Canada and put pressure on US Soccer’s sponsors about our concerns with the organization. It was in that group chat where I met Marcus O’Malley, an event that I consider to be Divine intervention.
Getting a Reputation as a Journalist
The article I wrote in November 2019 and a quick little thing when the rumors about Zack Steffen becoming the backup to Ederson started going around were the only articles I wrote for a long time. It was Marcus who messaged me one day and asked me if I would like to contribute to his blog, Chasing A Cup, that I really became what I would call a fan journalist.
I did not intend to become a fan journalist. I just wrote about some young players because I enjoyed it, but that’s what I was becoming. I started gathering various sources and connections and it slowly hit me that I was becoming a reputable and trusted source in the USMNT community. While entirely unintentional, I am quite happy with where I am. I love what I am doing, and that is why I decided to expand to start covering clubs.
All of that said, there are some negatives with this line of work. I will never forget the first time I went through my Twitter DMs and some anonymous account had told me I would be better off in the kitchen cooking for the USMNT than writing about them. I laugh when I think of that to this day. One, because that actually sounds like a pretty cool job, but I also can’t cook so we definitely don’t want the team eating my food. As funny as that one was, most are not. It is something I have gotten used to. I had my DMs closed for a while, but I prefer to keep them open. I have gotten some good DMs that have led to good conversations too. It is the downside to becoming more well-known.
Honestly, I love what I do. The good and the bad. It is so much fun to write about what I love for all of you. It brings me joy. I am thankful for the friends it has given me. I truly do love writing and I hope to continue for many more years.