Kicking the soccer ball with his New England Revolution teammates after a tough practice, midfielder Andy Dorman is all smiles as they joke around while trying to keep the ball from hitting the ground. He’s playing the game he first fell in love with as a boy in Wales, before his hard work and dedication led him to playing soccer across the pond at Boston University, where he was a three-time All-New England and three-time all-conference honoree. He was signed to the Revolution in 2004, playing four seasons with the Revs before leaving to play abroad, only to return to his Gillette Stadium home in 2013.
These days, Dorman has much more to smile about than living his dream of playing soccer professionally. After marrying his college sweetheart, Nicole, in 2009, the two welcomed their daughter Ashley in 2014. A hands-on dad, Dorman has juggled the demands of being a professional soccer player with that of being a doting father to his daughter who turns 1 this month, and has done so with the same positive attitude that has helped him succeed throughout his career.
How do you balance your role as a father with being a professional soccer player?
It was tough at the start when she was born and we were just coming into playoff time. A lot of sleepless nights. My wife did a lot of the nights and did double shifts on everything since I was busy with soccer. In the off-season I can help out a lot more. I get to see a lot more of Ashley, take care of her, get up in the middle of the night with her and just help out.
But during the season, as a soccer player I’m home by 2 p.m. and I get to spend afternoons with Ashley. I can take her out and do stuff. During the week I get to spend three to four hours a day just with her, but on the weekends because we travel I don’t get to see her too much.
What would you say if your daughter wanted to play professional sports?
I wouldn’t hold her back from doing it. I would obviously encourage her. There’s definitely a gray side, however; you do what you love for however long you get paid for doing it. I have been doing it for 11 or 12 years and you have to sacrifice a lot of your life for it.
How will you teach her about being a good sport, win or lose?
From a professional point of view, you’re so focused on winning that sometimes things happen on the field that you are not entirely proud of and you’d obviously have to explain to your kid if she’s old enough to watch. But I would teach her that no matter if she gets fouled by an opponent or something happens on the field, to always shake hands with her opponents at the end of the game – win, lose or draw. My dad used to do that with me.
What is the best advice your coach ever gave you?
You get a lot of advice that’s really good that you take on board, about working hard and doing everything for your teammates. I also was taught that it’s important to come in every day with a smile on your face, and to train and be ready to work hard with a positive attitude. I think I took that advice and it keeps you even-keeled and consistent if you do that. You don’t get too down. You don’t get too carried away.
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Why do you think it’s important for kids to find a sport or activity they love?
From my experience, sports provide a great opportunity to build relationships – to think about other people besides yourself. You learn how to talk to people, whether it’s your coach who has more authority than yourself or whether it’s your teammates who are on your level. Through that you speak to people you normally wouldn’t speak to of all different cultures and you meet so many interesting people. And you learn that winning isn’t everything. It’s important but there’s more to it.
Cheryl Crosby is senior editor of Boston Parents Paper.
What is your favorite game day meal? – Kristina, 8
I always have pasta with veggies and some chicken.
What should someone do if they want to be a better soccer player? – EJ, 7
Practice is probably the most important thing.
What are the things that you do to get ready to play? – Ben, 9
Usually just relax and take it easy. Talk to my teammates about the game and what you expect to happen.
What’s it like to score a goal? – Colin, 8
It’s good when you score but the feeling of winning is even better.
What would you do if you weren’t a soccer player? Dylan, 8
I’d probably be living back in England and teaching.