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September 21, 2023 33 mins

John Harkes helped awaken soccer fever in the United States as captain of the US Men’s national team during the 1994 World Cup. His son Ian Harkes pursued the “family business,” and is currently playing for the New England Revolution in the MLS. 

The Harkes boys talk with host Jon Frankel about the changes in how professional soccer players train now versus when John Harkes was on the pitch, and what it’s like to grow up in a family where everyone plays soccer for a living.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
In the game of life, Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and
nurturing meaningful connections with family can be among the most
formidable challenges we face.

Speaker 2 (00:12):
It was always the name in the background, son of
national team player John Harks and Cindy Harks, so there
is that pressure, but I take it as a positive.

Speaker 1 (00:19):
Yet for many professional athletes, fostering both has proven to
be a triumphant recipe for success.

Speaker 3 (00:26):
The number one thing Cindy and I both try to
focus on with the character of who they are, not
so much about what they're going to achieve.

Speaker 1 (00:35):
I'm John Frankel. For the past two decades, I've traveled
the globe covering some of the most impactful human interest
stories in sports. On this show, I'm sitting down with
some of the biggest families in the game, the legends,
current superstars, and the up and coming playmakers to understand
what's really making them tech. What can pro athlete families

(00:56):
teach a new generation about the importance of caring for
your health, health and finding success in the face of adversity. Together,
we'll hear stories of their remarkable comebacks, setbacks, and the
crucial role their family and self care played in their
paths to championship glory. This is part of the game.

(01:20):
The story of American soccer can't be written without John Harks.
One of the most accomplished players in US history, Parks
played a key role in the rise and popularity of
the beautiful game here in the States. He was the
first American to play in England's Premier League. The midfielder
led Team USA in two World Cups, including the nineteen

(01:43):
ninety four Cup, in which the host nation, the US,
captivated the country with its run to the round of sixteen.
In nineteen ninety five, he led the American team to
a US Cup victory.

Speaker 4 (01:55):
The set to say the fellow the story hauk shun
Hussa la grit.

Speaker 1 (02:02):
Enough Armstrong, who does what have mentioned?

Speaker 5 (02:04):
It?

Speaker 1 (02:04):
Been followed by leading the same team to the semi
finals of the Copa America tournament and being named co MVP.
During his career, Harks collected ninety caps that his appearances
for the national team. He also won two Major League
Soccer Championships with DC United. Parks stayed connected to the
game following his retirement as a TV commentator and is

(02:28):
currently the coach of the Greenville Triumph in the USL
League One. His son, Ian Harks, is hard at work
building his own legacy on the pitch. Parks a riding
first time shot, Hony cut the post it and it's.

Speaker 4 (02:41):
Up going in.

Speaker 1 (02:42):
Ian Harts has scored long range blast his first MLS goal.
He recently returned stateside to play for the MLS franchise,
the New England Revolution, after four seasons playing in Scotland.
John's wife and Ian's mom, Cindy, was a standout college
and pro soccer player. Ian's wife, Sarah T. Garden, also
played professionally for the Celtic FC women's club in Scotland.

(03:06):
In addition, Ian's two younger sisters, Lily and Lauren, also
played at the collegiate level. One can only imagine the
backyard games that happened during family gatherings. Is there a
pickup soccer game at your house on Thanksgiving?

Speaker 5 (03:27):
There have been many a pickup game. I don't know
about Thanksgiving.

Speaker 2 (03:30):
I think we bring out the American football to pass
around every once in a while, just yeah, a little bit,
try and get into it and then we go back.

Speaker 3 (03:37):
We just try to fit in.

Speaker 5 (03:38):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (03:40):
For the Hearks, there is no off season because soccer
is the family business. John. Let me start with you.
You grew up in New Jersey at a time when
soccer probably wasn't on the front burner for most people,
at least not yet in this country. When did you
start playing and what was the appeal?

Speaker 3 (03:59):
Yeah, I think, you know, I started playing as soon
as I can walk, basically, And I do remember my
dad being a big influence in coaching and running training sessions.
My brother Jimmy three years older than I, so I
think he was seven at the time, and my dad
was bringing him down the register for the youth clubs

(04:20):
and for the youth league that was in Carnia at
that time, and my dad was coaching, and you know,
he signed me up as well at the age of four,
and so it was kind of almost like that's what
I knew. This is part of where we grew up
because of the culture there. It was a lot of Scottish,
English and Irish families. And then you go across the

(04:42):
one small bridge, very small bridge to Harrison and Newark
and it was Portuguese and it was a Latinos Central
American and it was just like a melting pot of
people playing soccer everywhere. And we thought that that's how
the world was, you know. It was just in a
small town in Carney, So we just continuously played every

(05:04):
day all the time.

Speaker 1 (05:09):
As John came of age, the United States was just
starting to get its first taste of professional soccer thanks
to the establishment of the North American Soccer League and
the spectacular ascent of the New York Cosmos in the
nineteen seventies and eighties. The Cosmos hosted home games in
both New York and New Jersey and was home to
one of the sport's most legendary players, Pele, who was

(05:31):
one of the team's forwards and left an indelible mark
on American soccer history. I'm going to age myself here.
How much did the Cosmos and Pele's presence influence you
at that point?

Speaker 3 (05:47):
It was the biggest influence, having some of the best
players in the world come and play basically in your backyard.
I was a ball boy for the Cosmos for a
short period of time as well, so I got to
experience that and see Pele in the dugouts in the
dressing room and the tunnels coming out in the field,
and Giorgio Kanalia, who I got to work with at
serious XM for a short period of time when I

(06:09):
wasn't coaching, and they were all there, all these players,
Wanner Roth, you know, quality players. Santiago Formoso who lived
in Carney was part of the Cosmos roster as well,
so we kind of had them all around. And then
Ricky Davis, who was like the All American boy that
was on that team of World All Stars, and those
guys were coming across and at the end of our

(06:31):
youth season, they'd be presenting trophies to us, So I'm like,
what is going on here? Isn't that amazing?

Speaker 5 (06:38):
Yeah? Yeah, it's crazy. Ian.

Speaker 1 (06:40):
Did those names mean anything to you coming up a
generation later?

Speaker 5 (06:46):
Yeah, definitely.

Speaker 2 (06:47):
I think their names still holds that power and that
influence throughout everyone that loves football. And I think the
fact that my dad would pass down those stories and
say that he was the ball boy, working and being
around those guys in those environments and they're probably playing
at some of the best times in their career and
the fact that they were doing it in the US
is massively influential. So yeah, I think my generation it

(07:08):
still speaks volumes their names and what it means to us.

Speaker 1 (07:12):
I did you have a choice about pursuing soccer. I
don't mean that necessarily in the literal sense that your parents,
you know, tied a soccer ball to your foot. But
given that not only was your dad an accomplished soccer player,
but your mother was a collegiate soccer player, how much
was that sort of the family business.

Speaker 5 (07:30):
It definitely was just there.

Speaker 2 (07:32):
Like my dad said, when you're growing up, it's just
around you right away. And I think I started probably
around three or four years old too, So I think
they presented it to us, and me and my sisters,
we all from a very early age. We just took
to it. And I think I did have a choice.
I played a lot of other sports, wasn't very good
at them to the same level that I was a

(07:52):
basketball player, had five Yes, I played a little basketball,
a little bit of rugby, one very quick season of
baseball and didn't love it. And yeah, so I always
came back to football, and I always came back to soccer.

Speaker 1 (08:09):
Like his dad, Ian excelled at the amateur level. He
won the Herman Trophy in twenty sixteen while at Wake
Forest as the best collegiate soccer player in the nation.
The same award John his dad won in nineteen eighty
seven while playing for Virginia. Let's talk about the fact
that you grow up with these two parents who played

(08:31):
soccer at a high level, and your father was able
to take it to the next level beyond college. You
experienced a great deal of success as a high school
soccer player. You go to Wake Forest, you have a
great career there. In fact, you win the Herman Trophy,
which I believe our crack staff you are the only
father son team to both win that award for the
best soccer player in college soccer, the equivalent of the Heisman?

(08:55):
Is it a double edged sword? Ian too be a
Harks and pursue soccer. I mean, you go and maybe
in some cases you didn't need this to open the
door because your talent spoke for itself. But then there's
also expectations that come along with that, aren't there.

Speaker 2 (09:10):
Yeah, I take it as a lot of blessings. There's
a pressure that comes with it because, Yeah, ever since
we started to maybe make names for ourselves and step
into different challenges, it was always the name in the
background of son of national team player John Harks and
son of Cindy Harks. You know, Hall of fame or
everything that she's done as well. So there is that pressure,

(09:31):
but I take it as a positive pressure. I don't
see it as a negative, and I think my sisters
do as well, because we're proud of what our parents
have done. We've seen them go through so many challenges
and they've kind of paved the way for us so
we can follow their example. And they've been great role
models for us, and they have opened a lot of
doors and opportunities for us, and then it's up to
us to step through those doors and take it on ourselves.

(09:52):
So I could definitely call it a double edged sword,
but it's definitely a blessing more than I think. I
see it as a challenge. But the talk is a there.
People are always gonna question it.

Speaker 1 (10:02):
And when you speak of talk, did anybody trash talk
to you on the field as you were growing up, Oh,
you're not your dad, or you think you're your dad,
or maybe worse.

Speaker 2 (10:11):
I don't think too bad, And maybe you get the
odd person that you know come for you a little bit,
But I don't think it wasn't too bad in Northern
Virginia for trash talk.

Speaker 1 (10:19):
And even if they said something to the effect of Oh,
you play like your mom. That was actually a compliment.

Speaker 2 (10:24):
Yeah, case exactly, and I need to play more like
my mom sometimes.

Speaker 1 (10:28):
But I was actually going to ask, are there subtleties
to the game that you got from your mother that
were advantageous in your career to this point?

Speaker 2 (10:38):
Well, it was talked about the different positions. Dad been
more of a midfielder, played right back as well, but
my mom was always kind of a number ten or
a striker. So she was always like talking to us
when we were in the backyard playing or training or
doing something where she was like, you guys need to
have the finishing gene. You don't have that and everything,
but you scored plenty of goals in your time.

Speaker 5 (10:56):
But he's like, where's the striker.

Speaker 3 (10:58):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (10:58):
She was always bringing up that and getting in the
box and how do you make runs and everything like that.
So we had two different aspects like that. But we've
been surrounded by a lot of strong women playing the
game our whole live.

Speaker 1 (11:09):
Yeah, John as Ian and the girls embarked on these
careers and following you and Cindy into this line of work,
what did you say to them to prepare them emotionally
and mentally to deal with carrying the Heark's name on
the back of their shirts.

Speaker 3 (11:27):
I think the number one thing we Cindy and I
both try to focus on was the character of who
they are, not so much about what they're going to
achieve or anything, but just being a good character person
and through the adversity, because there's a lot of downs
as well as ups, you know, in every sport, in
any professional career that you seek, although soccer is just

(11:51):
one of those. It's a big platform and people are
going to follow you, and we're always saying you can
never be wrong doing the right thing, and so we
always kind of said keep your head, you know, even
keeled through that process. And it's always easier to say
it then to actually go through it. It's always harder
when you actually physically go through that. So I think

(12:12):
we were always just trying to find a balance as
best as we could to prepare them for what was coming.
But they have to go through that because they're just
passing through you as children anyway, So you can't feel
like your experiences are going to be exactly the way
theirs are, but you just kind of prepare them a
little bit through ups and downs. What people are going
to write about, what they're going to say, like your

(12:34):
team lost, oh you guys think you know whatever, negative,
it always comes with it. That's part of the sport,
and you just take it and move on.

Speaker 1 (12:45):
In twenty seventeen, Ian made the leap to professional soccer.
He joined Major League Soccer's DC United franchise, the same
team as dad played for when he won two MLS titles.

Speaker 2 (12:58):
When I first started playing with DC, it was my
first game. I was playing against Pier Low and David
Va for New York City. I was like, wow, how
are these players you know, on the same pitch as
me right now with their careers, And so I was
very lucky to be a part of that and have
two good years with DC United.

Speaker 5 (13:16):
And I'm part of my professional career.

Speaker 2 (13:18):
But then I just saw the opportunity to go and
continue to get games and kind of expand my career
a little bit. And like we talked about my dad
first going and kind of being a trailblazer and pioneer
for everyone, not just myself but for American players in general,
and what he did just broke down doors and barriers,
which it does still exist over there.

Speaker 1 (13:39):
Over there, meaning overseas. Europe is considered the cradle of soccer,
with some of the most storied teams and players in
the sports long history. Twelve World Cup champions have come
from Europe, by far the most of any continent, and
in nineteen ninety John Harks went across the Pond to
play for Sheffield Wednesday.

Speaker 3 (14:00):
Wellington switches it to Hawks on the right.

Speaker 1 (14:03):
That's a good effort by Jonas. It's first ever in
in fast football. I won't he remember for the rest
of his days. In nineteen ninety two, the midfielder made
history becoming the first American to play in the English

(14:23):
Premier League. Give me a sense of what that meant
in terms of quality of play and how did it
transfer to you as a competitive soccer player. What did
that mean to you to be at the Premier League level?

Speaker 3 (14:39):
Well, total honesty. I think at that time you don't
really understand what that means. You're just there and you're
in it. And I was very fortunate in the first
seven months there, you know, scored a goal of the
year and then we were winning a title against Manchester
United at Wembley, so it was all coming really quickly.
But what people failed to w recognized this. There was

(15:01):
four months of me on trial and fighting and trying
to be accepted there and people think, oh, you played
in the World Cup. You know you're going to play
for a club in England severyr Wednesday, and I'm like, man,
it was some dark times like me staying over there
and not making it, and a lot of phone calls
back to Cindy, who I was dating at the time,

(15:21):
and then to my mom and dad too, like I
don't think I'm going to make it, and it's crazy
to think that. But I actually played in the World
Cup before I was a real pro, and it was
because we were ragtag bunchs of college kids coming out
and fighting, chip on our shoulders to prove things to
the world and we got that opportunity. So I've been

(15:42):
really fortunate to be in those opportunities and I always
just try to make the most of them as best
as I can. And so when you think about what
you just mentioned the Premier League that came in the
second season when they changed the Division one Division two
status and they said, at the Premier League now, and
it did raise the expectations and the level of play

(16:05):
and the speed of play because now there was more
international players coming into those leagues where it used to
be like two or three international players per club. Now
you look at the lineups and your spotting, like is
there any English players out there? Let alone the Americans.
But you open the door and you create those opportunities.

Speaker 1 (16:22):
Fair to say that it made you a better player
playing at that level.

Speaker 3 (16:27):
Without a doubt, because when you get to the higher levels,
people think that you recreate certain moments in the game
or you create. It's just speed of play, speed of thought,
and the physicality and it's the quicker you can think.
And that's where I think, you know a lot of
our kids have been really gifted because they see the
game well. I think Sarah as well as Ian and

(16:49):
Lauren Lily could all be great coaches if they wanted to,
because they really understand the game of football because they
live it. You know, it's their passion, they're emotionally invested
in it. But I think that's the biggest difference was
that speed of play, that speed of thought, and just
you're not always going to be the fastest player on
the field, but you got to think faster than anybody else,
and that's what helps you get.

Speaker 1 (17:08):
By Ian Harts once again followed the trail his father
blazed years earlier. In twenty nineteen, he joined the Scottish
club Dundee United. His wife, Sarah Tigarden, also played professional
soccer for Celtic FC in the Scottish Women's Premier League
until her retirement in twenty twenty two. Ian, what did

(17:33):
you see is the biggest difference leaving American soil and
then going to play for a club over there.

Speaker 2 (17:39):
One of the biggest differences is just how much of
football is embedded in the culture over there. And I
think the US has come such a long way and
it's amazing to see what they are doing and how
strong the league is here now. The league's is basically
as old as me, just when you started in nineteen
ninety six and everything, and it's taking you know, leaps
and boules. They get it. It's nice, nice, nice, subtle.

Speaker 5 (18:04):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (18:05):
I think there is still kind of a connotation or
a bias towards American players playing overseas of basically not
whether or not we can do it, but you know,
are you good enough? Are you good enough to stay
in it? Do you get what's going on here? Kind
of all of that, the pressures on the smallest games
is so high, which makes it fun, which makes it challenging,
but you do get to see the other side of it,

(18:27):
the nastier side of it, I guess where people's passions
come out.

Speaker 5 (18:31):
But it was cool to see that too.

Speaker 1 (18:32):
A little bit of home soil for you too in
a way, right playing in d that's where your grandfather
is from.

Speaker 2 (18:39):
Yeah, yeah, your dad was born in Dundee, just behind
and grew up just behind the stadium that we played at.
So that was pretty cool, full kind of circle moment.

Speaker 1 (18:48):
And you know, we talked about Sarah, your wife, who
also plays overseas professionally. How much does soccer dominate the
conversation when it's just you and Sarah, when the whole
family gets together, does anything else get mentioned?

Speaker 3 (19:04):
Movies?

Speaker 2 (19:07):
Yeah, we try and talk about a lot of other things.
Soccer and football is definitely the dominating part of our conversations.
And it just because it's our life. Like we said,
we just yeah, we live and live.

Speaker 3 (19:17):
In natural like everyday thing that's just there.

Speaker 2 (19:21):
Yeah, And but on the other hand, it's very nice
to also have someone that knows exactly what you're going
through every single day and actually have those conversations where
I can just tell her coming back from work, you know,
and training, and say this is what happened to and
she goes, yeah, I know exactly what you're going.

Speaker 5 (19:36):
Through, right.

Speaker 1 (19:38):
I ran ten more sprints than you did today, so
don't complain to me.

Speaker 2 (19:41):
That's why I'm never gonna I'm never gonna win the
competition battle with her.

Speaker 1 (19:47):
When we return, we'll talk about how soccer has evolved.

Speaker 3 (19:51):
In the old days we didn't have all this data analysis.
It gets to a point where you go, I wonder
how much better we could have been if we did
have it.

Speaker 1 (19:59):
Part of the game. We'll be right back and now
back to part of the game. Injuries, of course, are
part of every sport, and soccer is no different. Pro

(20:19):
players run on average between six and seven miles each game.
That's a lot of miles on the odometer. John and
Ian Harks have experienced pain on the pitch during their careers,
but they both feel they've been somewhat fortunate. What have
been the worst injuries that each of you have suffered
in the course of your careers?

Speaker 2 (20:41):
For me, probably ankle problems, torn ligaments, very serious ligaments,
and both ankles, but thankfully more recently on my left
one that was more of an eight to ten weeks
so I was a bit longer where I thought I
was going to have to get surgery and thankfully didn't
have to. And then before I've just kind of gone
through some other ones that have just been sprands or
serious brands.

Speaker 5 (21:01):
So thankfully nothing too bad John.

Speaker 1 (21:04):
Any lingering effects.

Speaker 3 (21:06):
Well, I mean I beat up my body early in
those days. You know, it was just fight, fight, fight, compete,
you know, really crappy field mud. The conditions now that
they play in and the science that's applied to it
in terms of training and everything is just so much better.
It's unbelievable on the recovery periods. And I give these

(21:26):
guys so much credit. Like even Greenville that I coached
in the USL, I see players rolling out and doing
exercises like hours before training, and I'm like, man, we
used to come in, you know, get a cup of
tea or a coffee, and then walk out in the
field warm up for twenty minutes and then we were
good to go.

Speaker 5 (21:44):
That's why you lost your hip.

Speaker 3 (21:46):
Yeah, yeah, I had a hip resurfacing technique done, but
I did it after.

Speaker 1 (21:51):
I retired, proven to be successful.

Speaker 3 (21:54):
Very successful, like still running and kicking the ball today easy.
It's not a hip replacement. It was a surfacing done.
And I've had you know, fifth minute tarsal breaks at
college at UVA. I had that recovered from that and
minor cartilage surgery when I was a junior in high school.
My knee which is bugging me now, but now, other

(22:16):
than that, it's been pretty you know, lucky. I guess
not to have the major ones.

Speaker 1 (22:22):
You pointed out something that I would like to address today,
and obviously this is true about almost every sport. You
look at the golfers today and these guys look like
real athletes. Rory McElroy and Tiger Woods look like guys
who spend as much time in the weight room as
they do on the golf course. How has the training
changed in soccer today? What are the things that players

(22:46):
are doing today, John, that you coach and you didn't
do during your day.

Speaker 3 (22:52):
Ian.

Speaker 1 (22:52):
What do you see as some of the differences.

Speaker 3 (22:55):
I think just how that science has applied, how the
results you know, are just both macro and micro throughout
a whole season. And I think that from a high
performance coach or strength and conditioning, whatever title you want
to give. They have, you know, a lot of input
that can help you. And look, I mean it gets

(23:17):
to a point sometimes from a coach from our generation
and I've been coaching at the pro level since two
thousand and seven, but it gets to a point where
you go, oh, the old days, we didn't have all
this data analysis, and I wonder how much better we
could have been if we did have it, Like how
much more prepared we could have been, how much better

(23:38):
in game situations instead of just pulling off a hopeful
play that we would have more consistency to do that
over and over again, based on the strength and stamina
that they have. I think players today speed of the
game has gone up tremendously when we played, even just
training with Sarahenni and like three days ago just watching

(23:59):
him train. Came back and Lauren, my daughter, was like,
how to go? And I'm like, man, he is so powerful,
it's ridiculous, like runs, striking a ball, sprinting. It's crazy
and we can raise it up ourselves at certain times,
but to have it at a consistent level, and I
think him being in Scotland hardened him a lot and

(24:21):
because of that expectation physical nature of Scottish football. But
just to see how strong he is, it's crazy. I
mean honestly, no, seriously, the training and the more dedication
that they put into really what they eat and everything diet,
I mean it's exceptional. I think it's great, and I

(24:42):
think the players can hold for longer periods, longer stretches
of time, like real high intensive workloads. We couldn't do
that back in the day, There's no way.

Speaker 1 (24:54):
I've read and heard over the years different numbers about
how much distant soccer players cover in the course of
a match, you know, five six, as much as eight
nine miles. Do you know what the number is today?

Speaker 2 (25:08):
I think anywhere from well, I was always doing in
kilometers the last couple of seasons, but don't confuse me, sorry.
I think the average was like ten to twelve kilometers,
so I think it's maybe eight or nine miles.

Speaker 1 (25:24):
So in the course of that, can you run yourself
into shape maybe the way your dad and his teammates did,
or are you getting into the weight room now different?
You know a generation after you're trying to gain that strength,
not just by playing and practicing, but you're getting into
the weight room and working and bulking up so that
you have the strength to do it.

Speaker 2 (25:44):
I think, like my dad said it, nowadays, I think
it's just all about finding that extra one percent that
you're just adding in so many different facets of the game.
But I think he's probably underselling it how much they
actually worked and ran and did all of that themselves.
And I think that's just nowadays we have the technology
to talk about the metrics and talk about the science
and all of the fitness that goes into it. But

(26:06):
there's a negative connotation too, where sometimes they hold us
back and go, oh, they've only hit this number for
the day, and you're looking at it from a coach's
perspective and they're probably going they can get more out
of these guys. It's not just based on the numbers.

Speaker 3 (26:17):
Yeah, that is a balance. That is true though, And
then we kind of go like this sometimes back and
forth with that, you know, like you guys, can we
can push you a little bit more, you know, and
sometimes they're like, whoa overload, We need to pull them
back today.

Speaker 1 (26:33):
One of the many valuable lessons sports teaches us is
the ability to confront and overcome adversity. Ian harks encountered
such a scenario in twenty eighteen when he was released
by DC United. Just two years removed from being crowned
the best player in collegiate soccer, harks was now a
player without a team. But when times are tough, the

(26:56):
Hawks family circles the wagons to help each other. Do
either of you remember a specific experience in Ian's career
where you called up mom or dad and talk to
them about it and we're looking to be consoled.

Speaker 2 (27:16):
Yeah, there's probably plenty of examples. Like you said, there's
plenty of ups and downs as injuries that have gone
through where I've thought, you know, it's the end of
the world, and I've had to call them. Thankfully, I
haven't had too bad of injuries, but you know anything,
when you have a little setback sometimes in your career,
you can only focus on that moment and you can't
see the bigger picture where you're going to get through
it and it's going to be all right. But they've

(27:36):
talked me through those They've talked me through even just
this past season that I came off of. There was
a lot of downs, a lot of big losses, and
ultimately The way we finished the season was we were
relegated over in Scotland and that was the first time
for me in terms of seeing as wow, is this
a bigger kind of picture as a failure or is
it just a part of your career And you go

(27:56):
through these things and you've had the highs of being promoted,
going over to Scotland and bringing the team up and
having that pride with it, and then you think, oh, wow.

Speaker 5 (28:05):
We've also had the other side of it.

Speaker 2 (28:07):
So I've had to talk to them and they've helped
me through this whole year. You know my wife what
she's gone through with playing football and knows the game
very well. I've heard of Leonan these you know everyone
in the game. Everyone experiences different things at different moments,
but they've always been there to support and they've always
been there to guide.

Speaker 5 (28:26):
So yeah, very lucky to have that.

Speaker 3 (28:29):
Self reflection is the best way to grow. And if
there's mistakes or things that happen, or relegations like Ian
just mentioned, or winning Scottish Cup titles like Sarah has
done a Celtic, it's like the highs are going to come,
you enjoy them and then you reflect back on and
say what did I do really well that helped do
that as a team. And I think what Ian and

(28:52):
Sarah and Cindy and Lauren and Lily all have and
even I have, is it's always team first mentality. Can
ask you a question like a reporter, can ask you
a question that makes you think down and makes you
think negative, like, oh my god, my performance was poor today.
I was really crap, and then all of a sudden
you go into this spiral down world turn And it's

(29:14):
easy to do that instead of just saying, hey, yeah,
I am going to have bad games.

Speaker 5 (29:18):
We all are.

Speaker 3 (29:19):
But each team that we continue to keep playing for
is that we're going to try to lift each other
up all the way. That's what's part of the process
of being an athlete and fighting for things every year
and every club season.

Speaker 1 (29:31):
Let me ask you both, it's sort of a hypothetical
question here. How different would your relationship be as father's
son if Ian was not a soccer player and had
not reached some of the levels that he had.

Speaker 3 (29:46):
I don't think it would be different. I think there's
a connectivity through the game that we share and the
love for the game, and we like to talk about it,
but I think real life and just being human like
we just it's family. I don't think it would change
month been kicked out.

Speaker 5 (30:01):
I would have been kicked out of the house by
day of five.

Speaker 1 (30:03):
Now it wasn't an honest answer.

Speaker 3 (30:05):
I can't believe you would have been a chess champion.
It's amazing.

Speaker 2 (30:08):
I think our relationship wouldn't have changed much. I think
it would have been pretty good.

Speaker 5 (30:14):
Yeah, let me close this way.

Speaker 1 (30:16):
Both of you can take a second to think about
this and answer it in your own way. It means
something different to everybody else. The name of this podcast
is the heart of the game. What is the heart
of the game. What is the heart of the game
of soccer? To you, Ian, I.

Speaker 2 (30:34):
Think the heart of the game is the fact that
the game is global. I think it connects everyone that plays.
It doesn't matter where you're from. It doesn't matter what
language you speak, what you look like, religion, anything like that.
I think it's a language that we all speak. And
my wife and I were talking about this this morning. Anyway,
where we travel, you see a soccer pitch in the

(30:54):
middle of the city. Anywhere you go, you can speak
to anyone about the game and teams that you love.
I think the heart of the game is just that
love and that passion that everyone has for it, and
you can't really explain it. I think it's just something
that connects everyone across this globe.

Speaker 5 (31:09):
It's pretty cool, John.

Speaker 3 (31:11):
It's hard to follow that up. I think he hit
it right on the head the way it doesn't judge
the inclusivity of it, the democratic approach of throwing a
ball together, even in tough countries where there's maybe lack
of opportunity or poverty, and you still throw a ball
out there and everybody goes out and plays and laughs
and smiles and puts their arm around you and just says, Wow.

(31:34):
That's the heart of the game. It connects everybody across
the globe.

Speaker 1 (31:40):
The Hearts family personifies the unwavering spirit of soccer, with
its roots intertwined in their DNA. No matter the distance
it separates them across the Atlantic Ocean or the friendly
rivalries that ignite during their family pickup games, the game
of soccer remains the unbreakable bond that keeps them, reminding

(32:01):
them that strength and dedication, both on and off the field,
are essential for their enduring success. On the next episode
of Heart, of the Game. We'll hear from NBA legend
Tim Hardaway and his son, current NBA superstar Tim Hardaway Junior.
An overcoming adversity on and off the court.

Speaker 4 (32:21):
I've always wanted to play. I played through a lot
of injuries. There's a lot of times where I'll be
heart and everybody knows I'm hurt, and I'll tell them like, no,
I don't think i'm'n go tonight, But then I'm suited
up Brady to go. Your mindset just flips a switch.

Speaker 1 (32:36):
Heart of the Game is a production of Ruby Studio
from iHeartMedia. Our show is hosted by me John Frankel.
Our executive producer is Matt Romano. Our EP of Post
Production is Matt Stillo. Our supervising producer is Nikiyah Swinton.
This show was edited by Sierra Spreen. Our writer and
researcher is Mike Avela. Thanks for listening. We'll see you

(32:59):
next time.
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