Mike Petke is a polarizing figure in Major League Soccer.
Whether it was during his playing days or now as a coach, it seems everyone has an opinion on who Petke is. He is sometimes criticized, but is always entertaining.
In an in-depth feature in the Salt Lake Tribune, Gordon Monson takes a deep dive into the Real Salt Lake coach, his upbringing on Long Island where he father Ed, who took just three sicks days in nearly four decades of working for the Long Island Railroad, was the loving disciplinarian.
Petke largely has that role at RSL, providing tough love for a talented, but young group of players in his 26 months as head coach. Results, of course, are important, but somewhat secondary to playing the right way.
“He can be the rah-rah coach, can get us pumped up,” midfielder Kyle Beckerman told the Salt Lake Tribune. “He can get into us, and really let us have it. He’s a motivator and a tactician.”
The players, at training and in the locker room, have felt Petke’s wrath, as have MLS officials, resulting in a pair of now infamous post-match rants and subsequent fines and suspensions.
“I get to a point where I can’t hold it in,” Petke said in the article. “It just comes out. I’m not proud of that stuff; that’s just who I am.”
In many ways, Mike Petke is truly his father’s son.
To read the entire feature on Petke, click here.