By Kody Acevedo
Andrew Weber is adjusting to the cards he’s been dealt. In that process, he’s developed a negative into a huge positive.
The former Major League Soccer player is in the middle of his prime as a professional goal keeper, but a herniated disk in his back has forced him off the field and unable to play the game he loves.
“It’s hard,” Weber said as he watches the latest COPA America soccer game on TV. “It’s hard to watch because I want to compete.”
Weber, a McClintock High School graduate, is still partially recovering from his injury, but, in the meantime, he’s fostering another passion: coaching.
In fact, he’s weighing whether to give up playing altogether and continue to pass on his knowledge to the younger generation.
“It’s nice to be your own boss,” Weber said. “I’ve always wanted to continue my education in goal keeping, too.”
To say Weber is a student of the game is an understatement. During his entire career, which extends from his youth club team, the ‘Tempe Pros,’ to being a member of the Portland Timbers last season, Weber has continuously studied the sport that has been at the center of his life.
“I’ve always really been passionate about coaching, but this is the first year I’ve really gotten into it,” Weber said.
It’s a passion that was engraved into him during his club soccer days in Arizona thanks, in part, to his former coach, Dr. Jeffrey Wilson.
“He was my biggest influence,” Weber said.
“I only hope I can influence as many kids as he did.”
Dr. Wilson was part of Weber’s life since he was about 10 years old. During that time, not only did he help Weber discover his passion but guided him through a difficult period at home. When he was 13, Weber’s parents divorced.
“He was somebody I could confide in,” Weber said.
That influence has stuck with him throughout his career, beginning at the University of New Mexico, to stops professionally with D.C. United, the San Jose Earthquakes, the Seattle Sounders FC and the Portland Timbers.
With all that under his belt, Weber still felt motivated enough to return to his roots in Tempe and begin his coaching career.
“This has always been home,” Weber said.
“This state gave me an opportunity to play.”
Weber said he returned to help give back to the community that helped launched his career. Besides the support of those closest to him, his experiences here gave him the foundations to success, he said.
In school, he played multiple sports, including football. He didn’t focus solely on goal keeping until he was 16.
From then on, no other position mattered. He even turned down a football scholarship to focus on his soccer career.
Weber said watching other goalies make unbelievable plays inspired him to never lose sight of someday being in their shoes and performing at the professional level.
“I love having that pressure on my shoulders,” Weber said. “It develops character. Being a goalie is all about momentum.”
That’s the attitude he presents to the young players he teaches. Right now, Weber currently works with kids ages 9-18.
“I care for [my students]. I want what’s best for them. There’s joys of playing, but there’s joys of coaching as well,” Weber said.
His business is private and only spreading through word-of-mouth, but he’s in the planning stages of developing a website and expanding outside of Arizona.
For the time being, Weber is enjoying the path laid out in front of him.
“I learn as much as I can. I love what the game has given me and what it continues to give me. I’m ready to start giving back.”
For information on lessons, Weber can be reached by email: Netkingselite@gmail.com