For episode two of BTW Presented by Heineken, we ventured to Orlando to catch up with Uri Rosell and Chris Mueller of Orlando City SC. As bummed as I was I didn’t get to pack my Mickey ears for this trip, our experience at Topgolf more than made up for it.
For those unfamiliar, Topgolf is essentially a driving range on steroids—state-of-the-art technology that tracks the speed and distance of your shots, super-challenging but incredibly fun games that will humble even the most avid golfer, and of course, all the food and Heineken you can consume. All in all, a perfect setting for a day spent with two incredibly lovely but ultra- competitive dudes.
Upon meeting both Uri and Chris, it was clear that these two have an awesome rapport both on and off the pitch. Both were warm, inviting, and certainly up for a day of fun hitting a few balls. Fun fact: Chris grew up in Schaumburg, Illinois, which is about 15 miles from my hometown, and we bonded over the evenings of our youth spent wandering the vast landscape of Woodfield Mall. And while both Uri and Chris are soft-spoken and thoughtful, it did not take long for the competitive juices to start flowing. These guys wanted to beat each other ... and me. Badly.
A good deep dive on their social media channels told me that both Uri and Chris had dabbled in the game of golf, Chris a little bit more so than Uri. Before we started, both told me that they weren’t very good. Perhaps this was to put me at ease, make me feel better about my woeful skills on the links, or more likely ... to hustle me.
After a decent start to our target-hitting competition, I quickly faded into oblivion as both Uri and Chris seemed to nail every single shot. Uri is a natural, who despite only playing a handful of times, has a lovely stroke, likely the product of being a professional athlete who simply can pick up any sort of athletic skill quickly. And Chris, who told me he only started playing a year ago, has honed a beautiful lefty swing that looks effortless. If they weren’t so fun and overall awesome, it would have been infuriating.
Uri told me that Chris is the most competitive guy on the team and I believe him. Despite a sizeable lead in our game, Chris was relentless, getting mad at himself for any shot that was less than perfect. In a desperate, and yes, immature, attempt to even the score a bit, Uri and I resorted trying to distract Chris during his back swing. It didn’t work. Chris won the round convincingly and Uri’s performance was beyond respectable. Me??? Let’s just say I won’t be making the tour anytime soon. Woof.
As the loser, I treated my new golfing buddies to some nosh and Heinekens and discussed everything from Uri’s transition from growing up in a small town in Spain to life in the states (PS – he loves it), to Chris’s unbelievable start for Orlando City in his first year in MLS.
My favorite part of the day was when Uri busted Chris’s chops for his “Ronaldo” goal celebration. I think Chris actually blushed at this point. It was great. What was also great was the way they spoke about each other and their teammates, what they constantly learn from one another, and the respect they have for their brothers on the field. It’s a tightly-knit bunch in Orlando. And despite coming from such different backgrounds, soccer is the universal language that brings them together. Seeing this firsthand is something that will never get old for me.
After our beers, we took a few more practice shots. Truth be told, I think the Heineken actually helped my game. We said our farewells as both guys had to get up at 6 am the next day for training, because the sweltering summer heat in Orlando is not conducive to afternoon sessions. But we all agreed we’d do this again ... and I’m signing up for golf lessons immediately.
Thanks so much for watching! Cheers to Uri and Chris, and cheers to you.