Goalkeeper's log: The places I've been

Dear Diary:

Two continents, three countries, six leagues and 10 teams spread out over an 18-year professional career. I've had more clubs than Jack Nicklaus. Why is it that I've been with so many teams? Well, one league folded (Canadian Soccer League; R.I.P. 1987-1992), as did four teams (the Winnipeg Fury, Edmonton Drillers, Toronto Rockets and the Toronto Blizzard). Trust me, it wasn't entirely my fault. But there is a rumor in Canada that I have single-handedly destroyed the professional game. It must have been all the large signing bonuses that I commanded.

So here are a couple of my favorite cities. Remember this is only one limited view of a city, and a goalkeeper's view at that. I have lived and played in eight different cities. All of them have been unique and enjoyable in some way.

My first team was the Vancouver 86ers of the Canadian Soccer League. At 19 years old and starting in my hometown, it was a dream come true (except that dream had me wearing a Canucks jersey). Having traveled all over the world, Vancouver is the best city I have ever been to, let alone lived in. It has everything. There are loads of outdoor activities, professional sports (check out the Canadian Football League and tell me it is not as exciting as the NFL), arts and cultural events. What other city can you lounge at the beach during the day and ski in the mountains over looking the city at night? The scenery is breathtaking with the mountains, Stanley Park and the surrounding Pacific Ocean. The only downside is the winter rain, which is much like that of the Pacific Northwest, but that does not even come close to outweighing the positives.

I also have a soft spot for Rochester, N.Y. It is a charming city with lots of neat little shopping and dining areas. The weather in the summer is hot and a little humid, but after living through a Rochester winter and the constant snow (my last winter there we had 125 inches of snow), a little humidity never hurt anyone. But the main reason I love Rochester are the people. I was always treated with tremendous respect as a professional athlete. Fans felt comfortable speaking with you in public but they were always very respectful of your privacy. The city is hungry for major league sports. I believe that a Major League Soccer franchise would be very successful in that city. They would draw huge crowds, the sport of soccer would become the second biggest sport, outside of football, and in upstate New York, the media coverage would be second to none. The city deserves a team and players would be fortunate to play there.

These are just a couple of my favorite cities. I can't include San Jose just yet because I'm still exploring, but I'll sit by the pool in early May basking in the beautiful sunny weather while enjoying the gorgeous view of the mountains.

Cheers!

Pat


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