Saturday was a bit of a bittersweet day for me. Even though we tied Colorado, which was very disappointing, my youngest brother Pat won his third championship with West Springfield (Va.) High School. I'm incredibly proud of him. I'm proud of both of my brothers.
We never won a championship while I was playing at West Springfield, but I'm not jealous of either of my brothers. I made it as far as the semifinals one year and the finals another. We played really well in both games, only losing on PK's at the end. I got there and was really happy to make it that far. Obviously, it would have been better to win, but I'm not disappointed.
Growing up, we played a lot of games in the neighborhood where we were the youngest out there. It was always a challenge because most of the players were my age or older. Both Pat and Jeff were usually the youngest players on the field. Several of the guys we played against were also a little bit more skillful than us at the time. It helped us develop to a higher level of play.
Now I'm playing for D.C. United, Jeff is at St. John's and Pat starts this fall at West Virginia. Even though we're not around as much, we still help each other out as much as we can. I'll watch them play or they will watch me play, then we'll offer a critique. I try to point out things they're doing well or areas they might be able to improve and they do that for me as well. Most of the time they tell me to shoot more, get a goal or something like that. I'd love to, but I'm a defensive midfielder and don't get too many chances.
Having my brothers around was a big help last year. When I wasn't getting a lot of playing time last year, they were really supportive and kept reminding me, "Keep working hard, keep plugging away. We know you made the right decision." They would remind me constantly to keep working hard and things would come. And they have.
I am very happy that both of my brothers are playing. I would love to see them make it to MLS some day. I want to see them make it as far as they can. It would be nice to have them as teammates, but I just want to see them play. I am proud of my brothers. Pat graduated high school on Wednesday (I missed it because of practice) and will be going to West Virginia in the fall. Jeff is working hard in summer school at St. John's and I'm plugging away at school with online courses. I hope to get my political science degree from Wake Forest in the next couple of years. Even though we're at different stages in our lives and in our soccer careers, we're each doing well.
Hopefully, we'll be able to keep on playing well and most of all have fun with the sport that we love.