June 14, 2011 – Derek Cuthbert is the veteran Head Coach of Penn Trafford’s boys’ soccer team, but he was originally a footballer out of Edinburgh, Scotland. Cuthbert took the time to talk to SG about how he chose the land of soccer over the land down under.
A very brief video of Cuthbert on the field. He’s 46 but runs pickup soccer with the students.
“So, where are you from?” I asked first. Cuthbert sounded Scottish as golf.
“Scotland,” said Cuthbert.
I’d gathered as much. “Um, city?” I said.
“Edinburgh,” Cuthbert said. Most Americans have read enough Irvine Welsh for a Scottish city name to hold some geographic meaning. Or, have they…?
“What brought you all the way to Penn Trafford?” I asked.
“I got married,” Cuthbert said. “My wife is from Pittsburgh.”
Cuthbert then explained that he played soccer his whole life, up through college in Cuthbert, GA and Point Park College. At the age of 27, Cuthbert was offered the chance to play professional football in Australia at a “minor league” type level. The team that recruited Cuthbert would have set him up with a day job so that he could play ball at night. But Cuthbert chose to stay here. He must have known that he could live a lifetime of soccer in whatever location his relationships or choices put him.
“So, do you say ‘soccer’ or ‘football?’?” I asked. “How do you think of it?”
“When I’m with my European friends, I call it ‘football,’” Cuthbert said. “It’s just easier.”
“What team are you a fan of when you follow the game for fun?” I moved on.
“Glasgow Celtic and Liverpool,” Cuthbert said without deliberating. That made it sound like he still pays attention to the teams he enjoys as a spectator.
Cuthbert has some clear goals for Penn Trafford’s upcoming season. He wants the Warriors to win Section 1-AAA, and also to win a playoff game. He wants the Warriors to be stronger than last year.
“Do you have returning players, this year?” I asked.
“A few,” Cuthbert said. “Doesn’t mean they’re good!” he added. Cuthbert is definitely a coach who wants students to keep progressing; to challenge themselves to get beyond the level they’re at.
“How about some ‘soccer tricks’ for the video?” I said. I’m not sure what that meant, but I wasn’t picky about the answer.
“I’m 46! I’m lucky I’m still playing,” Cuthbert said. “That’s the trick!”
At that point, Cuthbert went back to the students’ conditioning game to continue his “trick.” I’m thinking it will go on for many years past 46…
Cara De Carlo is the admin/editor of Sportsgazelle.com.