Coach Lauffer, [my college coach] First off I want to congratulate you on your program’s 25th Anniversary at West Texas A&M University! I’m writing this letter because I cannot make the trip to Canyon for the Alumni Event with the boys this weekend. I want you & the boys to know I did want to make it, but with prior commitments to work and family this particular weekend it is hard to make the trip.
This letter is to let you know not only that I appreciate everything you ever did for me. For when I was in school and out of school, but also to let everyone else know.
As a young college kid I didn’t understand
As a young college kid, I just didn’t understand how much you and your staff [Charlie, Lee, Webb] cared for us as people. Not only on the field as soccer players, but as student athletes & members of the society. I will always hear your voice saying a few things I heard so much like how we needed to enjoy this time before we had to go get a job & pay taxes or “Too Casual Debo!!!” By the way I hated that nickname.
If I knew then what I know now
I wish I could have understood then what I know now. Now that I’m fortunate enough to teach youth and young adult soccer players, I see how ‘casual’ players get and it frustrates me. You would tell me how, if I knew what you knew at my young age… But when you’re that young we just think we have more time than we really do. Before we know it we are 35 years old or 55 years old telling new generations the same thing. Hoping one day it will sink in for them. Well it sank in for me and not too late. I wouldn’t change a thing except, for those two Elite 8 National Championship Games to start over!
Even when I was done playing college soccer and traveling the world playing professionally, you would ask me over the phone if I was finishing school to earn my degree. You pushed me and expected me to fulfill what I had started. Which during that time of my life was completing school. Earning a degree not only gives education, but proves self-discipline. Not every college coach is pushing their players after they are done playing, but you do.
Teaching world cultures and how to act
You taught me (without even knowing it) how to be a global thinker & act like a working professional. By this I mean you taught me understanding of other cultures and understanding how to act when abroad or wherever. I never really had dreams to play pro soccer abroad, my goal was more to play & travel America. After my first trip to Denmark I knew that this is a big part of life for me.
The opportunity I got in Denmark and later Singapore was because of you connecting me with the right people.
Playing and traveling abroad
I got to travel to over 15 countries as a pro soccer player and got to see and meet so many cool places & people. (& you would always answer any question I had & offer the guidance you could from where you were.) It’s hard to explain it; you would know, as you’ve traveled and spent time abroad for several weeks or months, what it is to really understand life outside of America. For a college coach, you did more than coach soccer. You helped many boys become men.
If I could go back, I would have trained more technically. I feel that my last two years I really matured and physically did the running in the off-season and stayed disciplined in the season off the field. The biggest thing I know now is that the technical part of futbol is more important than most young players think. Better first touch and passing skills are the two biggest pieces that separate a college player from a pro.
All of this growth takes time, so advise that I have for younger players is to keep going little by little. One day at a time let the days add up for the better. With preparation comes more opportunity and you want to be prepared.
Thankful for my college coach
Without you I would not be where I am today, which is living a wonderful lifestyle in Dallas, TX, owning my own soccer school & working with people from all over the world. Some of my best friends are WT alumni and I value their friendship and look forward to meeting future alumni down the road. You always had a roster full of at least 6 players from other countries. I know they appreciate your relationship and trust too! I’m happy I chose you and your program and that you chose me!
I’m proud to call you my college coach and to have learned so much about soccer from you! You bleed passion and your love for the game of soccer is contagious. Your former players are now coaches & directors of top youth clubs, high school coaches, current & former pro soccer players, business owners, a FIFA player agent and other wonderful professions outside of soccer. You set a standard & a culture at WT for us to follow & carry on through our own leadership.
I want to say thank you for all you have done for me and I’m sorry I could not make the trip! I look forward to the next Alumni Event and seeing my WT Family soon!
West Texas A&M University Soccer Alum