In Part II of our week-long Father's Day feature, Silverbacks forward Matt Horth discusses his relationship with his father and the impact his father has had on his life, on and off the field.
Tell us a little bit about your father and the relationship you have with him.
“My father, David Horth, is a man who loves his family and his faith. He has an incredible work ethic and knows the ins and outs of being a leader. He’s extremely kind and treats other people with care and respect. He is also always willing to go above and beyond to help anyone out. I have a great relationship with my father and it’s something I am very thankful for. He has been a big influence in my life and our relationship has been one of love and respect.”
Do you and your father have a favorite activity that you often do together?
“When I was a younger kid, it was kicking a ball around. My dad would always play goalie and I would shoot, shoot, shoot, and shoot some more. We would do that for hours sometimes, and he’d always be content to be in goal and get in the way of my shots. Now, we just like to hang out and talk. When I’m back home, we usually find ourselves at the kitchen counter after dinner, so we’ll just start talking about anything and everything.”
Do you have a favorite experience or memory of something you and your father did in the past?
“After the 2011 NASL season, I needed to have surgery for what is called a sportsman’s groin injury, and the best surgeon for those is in Munich, Germany. So in November, my dad and I flew over to Germany and spent 3 days there for the operation. While it wasn’t the greatest reason for travel and it wasn’t exactly a vacation, it was still awesome to just hang out and spend some time with my dad in Germany - kind of like a guys night out except it was a three-day international trip. We just told stories and talked about whatever else came to mind. I loved it.”
How supportive has your father been of your career?
“He’s been massively supportive. From my earliest days he’s always said, “Find something you love to do and go do it.” He always made sure I had a secondary plan, just in case soccer didn’t work out, but once I shared with him that I wanted to pursue a career in soccer he was very supportive.”
How has he influenced your life, on and off the field?
“He always told me to pursue what I love, and always do things that I really enjoy doing. He’s a very smart guy, so he has shared a lot of that and it’s rubbed off on me. He also brought me up with a discipline of knowing why you’re doing things; not just doing things for the sake of doing it or because they feel good or it’s the easy thing to do, but to make the right choices that will help me now and later down the road, even if they are hard choices to make.”
Has he been able to come to any Silverbacks games to watch you play?
“Well, it's tough planning a trip from Ohio to Atlanta for six people (Dad, Mom, and four siblings), but my family made it down to two matches last year and will hopefully make it out to a one or two this year. They always watch the webcasts, but it’s awesome to know when they’re in the stands and only a few rows away. It definitely gives me an extra drive to do well.”
Did he get you into soccer? How did he influence your career as a player?
“It was either him or my mom who got me into soccer, but again, as a kid, he always made sure I was having fun. He would make sure that I saw my commitment through if I signed up to play for a team, but he never forced me to play. I think that mentality was definitely one of the main reasons I was able to fall in love with the game.”
Was your father ever your coach?
“Yes, he coached me from U-7 through U-13. Out of all the coaches I’ve had, he’s one of the top three who have influenced my game the most. His biggest influence was creating an atmosphere that allowed me to have fun and enjoy the game. By doing that, it allowed me to develop a passion for playing soccer. Too many kids these days don’t have fun. They don’t enjoy the game and they don’t enjoy the process of working hard to become a better player. Through the way he coached, he allowed me to love the game.”
Has your father always been a fan of soccer?
“My dad played soccer in high school, but I think he really got into it when I started playing. He continually took coaching courses as I progressed through the youth levels, and he’s even more into it now that my younger brothers play.”
How will you be spending Father’s Day this year?
Unfortunately, I won’t be with my family for Father’s Day this year, but I look forward to calling home and talking with my dad for a bit. Usually on Father’s Day, we have a cookout or go to one of our favorite restaurants. Pretty low key.”