Part 2: Mooch was a man of the people
The tribute to Glenn Myernick continues:
PIERRE BARRIEU, strength and conditioning coach, U.S. national team:
I remember my first trip as part of the staff for a training camp with the national team.
I was flying from D.C. to Ontario with Bruce [Arena] and a few D.C. players from the roster. There was a stop in Denver, where I first met Mooch [Glenn Myernick]. He came to me, introductions were made, and we chatted for five minutes. I just remember thinking: "Here's an established coach who knows me for five minutes, and I don't know whether it's an act or he's really nice, but he really put me at ease!" This was a unique ability he had, to put people at ease, and it didn't matter if he had only met this person for the very first time.
Mooch was a genuine people person. Every city we would stay in, he would have a friend stopping by the hotel, and he would always save one dinner night for his "local" friends.
It could have been as far back as his hometown in New Jersey, high school, NASL, you name it ... while most of us lose sight of people, Mooch did not.
Aside from his local friends, his mom was also a regular in the team hotel. One day in Boston, Mooch bought roses for his mom's birthday. He knew my wife and son were arriving that day and he called me in the room, told me he got a few roses for me so that I could give them to my wife when she checks in. I should not admit this to her ... but this was another example of Mooch thinking of and/or taking care of his friends.
GAIL MEGALOUDIS-RONGEN, founder/president of The Nicole Megaloudis Foundation:
The soccer community, and the human race, lost an incredible man on Oct. 9, 2006. Glenn "Mooch" Myernick passed away after suffering a heart attack on Oct. 5.
Mooch was on my foundation's board of directors; but more importantly, he was my friend. After my daughter Nicole died [in a car crash as a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth, where she played soccer], Mooch remained close -- always asking if he could help, allowing me to talk about Nicole and encouraging me to pursue her dreams of helping those less fortunate.
I recall one event in particular -- in Germany, during the World Cup this summer. There was a group of us having lunch near the team hotel in Hamburg. Mooch had come over to do an interview with Farrukh Quraishi's son, George. Before starting his interview Mooch walked over, sat down and put his arm around me and said, "How are you doing?"
For 15-20 minutes, it was as if there was no one else in that room, just me and Mooch. The genuine, caring and sincere man I had come to know and respect. We talked about the important stuff -- our families -- even though it was the eve of probably the most important game of his professional career. Mooch had a passion for living and an understanding of what life was really about. I know one thing for certain ... Mooch loved his family, unconditionally. They were his life.
I left for Haiti on Oct. 7 to fulfill Nicole's dream of helping the children there. Mooch had told me that day in Germany to never let Nicole's dream die ... to find a way to make it happen. It was an emotional journey, but I knew Mooch and Nicole were smiling.
Thank you, Mooch -- for just being "you" and encouraging me every step of the way. You may be gone, but you will never be forgotten. Your spirit will live on in the countless lives that you've touched. We will miss you.
PETER ANDERSON, midfielder with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, and former head coach/general manager of Millwall F.C. in England:
|“||Mooch had a passion for living and an understanding of what life was really about. ”|
|— Gail Megaloudis-Rongen|
Mooch was such a special person. Our paths crossed when I was working in the front office of the Tampa Bay Rowdies when the franchise was winding down and Mooch was at the end of his playing and had not yet embarked on his very successful coaching career.
We had an avid fan that owned a nationally famous restaurant called Bern's Steakhouse, and whilst between jobs, I asked Bern to give Mooch a job at the restaurant.
Well, Bern gave Mooch a job as one of the wine waiters (Bern's has the biggest and best wine cellar in the Southeast).
Mooch often told me it was the best job ever as he got to sample the best wines from around the world every night, and he got paid as well.
MIKE BURNS, former U.S. national team player:
My relationship with Mooch began 20 years ago when he recruited me to attend Hartwick College. I had the privilege of being coached by Mooch for four years. He had a big impact on my development as a player and overall career, but it's the personal side of Mooch I think about the most.
There are many stories I could share, but I'll pick just two:
At training one day my freshman year, Mooch calls me and two of my teammates over for a quick chat ... he asks us what our plans are for Friday night. The three of us look at one another, and before we have time to answer he tells us to be at his house at 7 p.m. to baby-sit his children, Kelly and Travis, so he can take his wife Nancy out to dinner. Obviously, we had not planned on this, but to know Mooch, saying "no" was not an option.
|Glenn Myernick Tribute|
|Glenn Myernick was an assistant coach for the U.S. national team. He also formerly coached the Colorado Rapids in MLS.
During his national team playing career, Myernick earned 10 caps and served as the squad's captain in 1978. During his college career he also won the 1976 Hermann Trophy and later played eight seasons in the NASL.
On Oct. 9, 2006, Myernick passed away at the age of 51 after failing to regain consciousness following a heart attack. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, their son, Travis, and daughter, Kelly.
ESPNsoccernet will be publishing a tribute by Jimmy Conrad and friends to the late Glenn Myernick this week. The five-part feature will run daily.
• Thursday: The competitor
• Friday: The scout's side
• Saturday: The family man
My junior year, I lived in an off-campus house with three other soccer players, and one night our phone rings. I pick it up and Mooch is on the line. He asks what we're up to and I reply, "Nothing." He says he's on his way over. Naturally, the four of us have no idea what's going on and are hoping that if Mooch is unhappy, it's with someone other than us. A few minutes later he arrives with a case of beer and some soccer videos and announces it's time to "Brew and View." For the next few hours we just hung out and talked about soccer and life.
JAMES HASHIMOTO, head athletic trainer, U.S. men's World Cup team:
I will never forget the day I found out that Mooch [had] his heart attack. I could not believe this was happening ... not Mooch, the one who is out there every training session with the guys, warming up, playing and participating in fitness. Since that day and after hearing of his passing, I have been trying to deal with his loss, as I know many others have.
Outside of the soccer world, Mooch and I had something else in common ... our love of the outdoors and the activities that they provide: skiing for Mooch, snowboarding for me, and hiking for the both of us. A few ski seasons ago Mooch and Nancy helped me out with getting passes to Copper Mountain in Colorado.
It was my first time out since I had ruptured my Achilles' tendon the season before, and I think he thought I was a bit nuts for going for the first time right before our January training camp. We were going to try and meet for a day on the slopes, but the timing just didn't work out. If I recall correctly, he was scouting a team for one of our upcoming World Cup qualifiers. I am disappointed we never hit the slopes at Copper together, but I am grateful for the time I had been given to work with and become friends with him.
FARRUKH QURAISHI, 1974 Hermann Trophy award winner, former president/GM of the Tampa Bay Mutiny:
For all his success, both as a player and coach, Mooch never lost the human touch and remained humble and mindful of his core values in the 35 years that I knew him. He always had time for his friends, no matter what. At the World Cup this past summer, he took time from an incredibly busy and stressful schedule to sit down with my son and do an interview for a freelance writing project that my son was working on. Mooch was generous and kind, and soccer has lost a friend and leader.
JOE CANNON, goalkeeper, Colorado Rapids:
My best memory of Mooch is right before coming into the first national team camp I was ever invited to. I remember being so nervous going into the camp. I had a layover in some airport and Mooch happened to be there, as well. He asked me if I wanted to go get something to eat. I forgot who else was there, but I just remember Mooch picking up the bill and then wishing me luck and future success with the national team. After hearing all these stories about him, I guess that is just the kind of person he was. I was a no-name player coming into my first national camp and he took time to get to know me and then pay for my meal. We've lost one of the good ones.
BRIAN DUNSETH, defender, L.A. Galaxy:
I had just finished playing a game for Cal State Fullerton in 1996 when a guy in a U.S. national team jacket came up to me. He introduced himself as Glenn Myernick, but that I should call him Mooch.
Later I had found out that he was there to scout Taj Jenkins as well as my teammate Joey DiGiamarino, but as usual Mooch was getting in as much soccer as he possibly could. After speaking to him for five minutes about life, he told me that he was recommending me to Jay Hoffman for the U-20 national team camp in December. And that was the beginning of my career.
Whenever Mooch and I saw each other after that, he always had words of constructive criticism and encouragement, as well as a great conversation about how lucky we were to be in the line of "work" we were in.
RENATO CAPOBIANCO, former MLS coach and director of soccer:
I went to Ecuador and Chile with Mooch with the U-17s in 1997. No matter where we were, he was always asking questions about the city, the stadium, the history of the hotel, history of the major streets -- Mooch always had a greater interest in informing himself and listening to others rather than speaking and being heard. He was always observing whatever environment he was in and asking questions. I found this to be his greatest asset. In a time when it seems everyone can't wait to speak their opinions, Mooch was quite happy asking questions and learning from what others had to say.
BRUCE MURRAY, 1987 Hermann Trophy Award winner:
The thing that stood out to me was whenever Mooch and I crossed paths he really went out of his way to see how I was doing and if I ever needed anything to let him know. It is rare that you find someone in our business, at his level of success, who really takes the time to think about those around him as much as Mooch did. That is what I will remember.
Jimmy Conrad is a defender for the U.S. national team and the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer. He contributes regularly to ESPN.com.