Well, Luke's 7th season playing professional soccer has officially come to a close, which is always a bittersweet time of the year for us.
Bitter because there are no more soccer games to go to (and the fun social aspect that goes with that), Luke doesn't get to do something that he enjoys so much for a few months, and summer is over.
Sweet because I get my husband back on Saturday nights (and Sunday mornings...), Luke doesn't have to leave us to go on road trips to away games, and we get to travel together as a family--Colorado, here we come!! (During the season (i.e. summer, i.e. most popular time to travel to weddings, etc), it is virtually impossible for Luke to leave town, except for soccer games, of course. So, unlike most of the country, we do our traveling between September and February).
Luke was drafted by the MLS during his senior year of college and has been playing professionally in some capacity since. It makes me happy that he gets to do something he loves, and I am very proud of all the hard work and persistence he has put into achieving his childhood dream.
Going into this past season, I was worried that the adjustment to being a new Daddy (and the consequent lack of sleep) would be a distraction to him and he many not play as well. Fortunately, being a Dad seems to have had the opposite effect, and he had his best season to date!
Luke was named "Man of the Match" at 4 of the Kickers' 10 home games. He was also named to the USL-II Team of the Week several times and was one of eleven players in the league to earn First Team All League honors.
But those are just statistics. It is harder to quantify, and of less interest to the newspaper, the many other ways that Luke stands out as a soccer player.
Like the way he greets his many youth fans after the games, signing autographs and smiling for pictures.
And the great example of hard work, sportsmanship, and respect he is for everyone who watches him play--let me tell you, it gives me great peace to sit in the stands knowing that my husband will never be heard cursing on the field or exhibiting poor sportmanship.
And I just love to watch him coach. One Mom came up to me last year and said, "We give Luke a hard time because when he scolds the kids during practice he just says, 'You knuckleheads!'" These "kids" were 14, but I love that he doesn't yell at them or insult them. (I can remember many a coach using really harsh words back when I played high school sports...).
It is for these reasons...and so many more...that Luke will always be my MostValuablePlayer. I am so blessed to have him as a husband, and Augustine is one lucky boy to have him as his Dad--hopefully, he will grow up to be just like him!
We are not sure what is next for Luke's soccer career. As of last weekend, he is a free agent, so there is always the possibility of changing teams. Aside from an offer from the Colorado Rapids of the MLS, however, there are few circumstances under which we would consider moving. Our "plan" (which is always subject to God's plan) is for Luke to resign with Richmod for a few more seasons...and then buy a house in CO! At that point, he may continue to play soccer (most likely in Richmond or Charleston), but we will live in CO for at least part of the year. There's always the chance that Luke would get picked up by the Rapids at that point, which would also be very cool.
As for the upcoming season, Luke will be negotiating his contract in the next couple months, so please keep him in your prayers.