You’re officially a Quakes Devotion Scarf recipient! Explain what it means to you to get this honor?
This was very unexpected and I thank my boss, Ron Shinault (Director of Performance) for nominating me for this honor. I’m not a person that seeks recognition so I’m actually embarrassed by this attention.
Talk to us about your Quakes fandom. How long have you been cheering on the black & blue? What is your most memorable moment?
My association with the San Jose Clash/Earthquakes goes back to 1994, before the MLS even started. I was working for American Airlines as Manager of Special Services and Admirals Club at San Jose International Airport. American Airlines was the Official Airline of the 1994 World Cup and Stanford Stadium was one of the venues for games. One day, Mr. Peter Bridgewater, who was with the USL Earthquakes and also the organizer for the Bay Area World Cup venue, burst into my office and introduced himself to me. He told me I was going to be very busy meeting all the important soccer folks, especially from FIFA because they were all planning to fly into our airport. Those that know Peter, know that this is probably what he would have done and said. In any case, I became immersed in soccer-mania. The MLS finally started in 1996 and Mr. Bridgewater was the President of the Clash. United was the official carrier of MLS at the time but because AA had more service out of SJC, I “stole” the contract and made the players and staff fly on AA. I gave them the AA Special Services treatment for the next 7 years. I retired from AA in 2002 and became a massage therapist and started doing massages for the Earthquakes in 2003/04. When they returned after 2 years in Houston, I became a regular contractor and have been there for the past 11 seasons.
There were so many memorable moments from Eric Wynalda’s first goal for MLS to the current squad and everything in between. I’m hoping to stay as long as Chris Wondolowski overtakes Landon’s record.
However, my most favorite memory was in 2001 when I was still at American Airlines and I arranged for the charter flight for the Earthquakes to Columbus for the MLS Cup. They invited me along to ensure that everything went smoothly both going and returning. The return flight after the Earthquakes won was crazy. It was like having a party in the air.
Who is your favorite Quakes player and why?
I think of all the guys as my sons so I can’t name one particular player. Politically, they’re all my favorites. What’s nice is that everywhere I go, I am greeted warmly because retired, or ex-Earthquakes are everywhere and I can name numerous examples of how they’ve progressed and grown within soccer and the MLS. I am very proud of them and I enjoy keeping in touch with many of them through their careers, marriages, children and life changes.
I do, however, have a special place in my heart for the squads that played around 2001 and the squads that played around 2012.
What would be your message to Quakes fans out there?
Support your team as if they were your own family. Having known other athletes in other sports, I know that soccer players are smart, genuine, outstanding young men. They aren’t spoiled or arrogant. It’s so easy to go on social media and say anything, especially the negative, but as human beings, the players are special individuals and I know each and every one of them love their fans.