Even hiding out in the mountains of North Georgia for the last five months hasn't stopped the influx of emails from around the globe, asking when the new blog is being released.
So, here it is – back by popular demand!
I must admit the offseason is a long affair for the average U.S. soccer player, unless of course you go play indoor or get lucky and make the jump to MLS. For the other 90% of us in the lower-division leagues, it's an interesting time period.
Players often get part-time jobs to make ends meet - bartenders, coaches, taxi drivers, construction workers, grocery store baggers and nightclub bouncers (my former Strikers teammate Matt Glaeser) are just few a gigs I've heard over the years. I've added my new teammate Tyler [Ruthven] to my list of people I know with odd part-time jobs. Aside from training with MLS side New York Red Bulls, he has been working at a local store that sells yoga clothing – maybe he’ll be more flexible this year!
For me, the last five months have been a little different, as I’ve become a father and changed teams. Unfortunately, I seemed to have molded myself into a man-wife (aka a bum who stays at home while my wife goes out and works). My day consists of diaper changing, feeding, playing, getting no sleep, and then getting up and doing it again!
When the Mrs. comes home from work and I'm sitting there with my daughter watching Fox Soccer Channel, I sometimes get that angry look. Believe me, there is no one happier about preseason starting in a few weeks than my wife!
On a serious note, the league is headed in the right direction. After a very successful first season, the NASL gained plenty of respect throughout the country as a more-than-solid second division. With more expansion teams on the horizon, more sponsorships and even more media exposure, everyone should expect exciting soccer and packed stadiums this summer.
Teams are making good additions to their squads, so I’d say that we’re going to be looking at a very tight and competitive 2012 season. Congratulations again to Minnesota for taking the first NASL Championship; they’re going to be the team to beat this year!
Well, I'm on my way to a yoga class with Tyler.
‘Til next time!
"Lancaster's Latest" is a monthly blog series on atlantasilverbacks.com written by Silverbacks defender Martyn Lancaster. Stay tuned for another installment in March. You can follow Martyn on Twitter at @martynlancaster.