Memories of Mooch: Oct. 12
All of the messages below (and hundreds more) have been sent unsolicited to ussoccer.com to honor the memory of "Mooch" Myernick.
Oct. 12, 2006
Glenn and I both attended Hartwick College and were teammates. We both were drafted by the Dallas Tornado. Mooch was the first player in the entire country taken and I was the fifth. I was honored to be drafted, and even more honored to be drafted with Mooch to the same team.
We both headed down to Dallas to start our professional careers. Coach Al Miller and Timo Liekoski assigned us to be roommates. Our first BIG road trip was to Hawaii for preseason. I can remember Al Miller in his BOOMING voice saying that we weren’t allowed to stay in the sun for more than 15 minutes. The sun in Hawaii was much stronger and you could get burnt very badly.
Mooch and I just came from Oneonta, N.Y., and the snow and cold. No way. We were headed for the beach. We stayed out all day. We were crisp like french fries. Poor Mooch is fair skinned and was RED like a lobster. I remember we couldn’t sleep all night ’cause it hurt so bad. We each were putting cream and gel on each other because it hurt so bad. Those seven days were hell in Hawaii because our sunburn killed us. The coach couldn’t believe we were so stupid! And all our teammates got great laughs teasing us for seven days. I don’t remember the ridicule or pain now, just the happy memory of Mooch and I helping each other with our sunburn.
Miss you Mooch.
God bless you, Nancy, and your two beautiful kids.
Keith Van Eron
I am deeply sorrowed by this incredible loss to members of this nation’s soccer community. I can remember doing “Thumper’s” camp in Minnesota where Mooch was on staff. We were playing the camper/staff game and Mooch (being the incredible player he is) hit a screaming 70 yard laser out of the back, where he was anchoring the defense, right onto the foot of Matko, in stride, who served the ball across the box to another staff member who scored.
Mooch then, some years later, came to Arizona to do a National “C” course for the sparse number of candidates that we had, and it was there that I feel that he became one of the coaches that I held on a pedestal. His demeanor, on and off the field, and his knowledge of the game, as well as his ability to disseminate that expertise, were done with incredible eloquence. His passion for the game was not only contagious but also the staple of whom he was. Glenn touched so many of us in a way that only those who are considered great teachers/instructors can do.
I am fortunate enough to have had the pleasure of Mooch’s invitation into a National training camp in Colorado with a U-16 group that he and Manny were training. Because there was no real money in the budget for another observer coach, Mooch and his lovely wife put me up at their house so that I could have the experience of being with a National team preparing for an international event. Mooch’s caring and thoughtfulness reached far beyond just the game, and I would soundly reiterate Coach Arena’s accurate description of Glenn, because he, Bruce, has had the ability to spend so much time with him in his assignment as Bruce’s assistant.
My heart-felt condolences go out to his wife, daughter and son whom he loved so very dearly.
Former Staff Instructor
Region II Boys/Girls ODP Staff Coach
Lyons Township Varsity Soccer Coach
This is an example of the kind of guy Mooch was:
Here's me, a girl's varsity soccer coach from a tiny little high school that nobody ever heard of, sitting in a hotel lounge talking soccer tactics using salt shakers and beer glasses (one wine glass, of course) and balled up napkins with Mooch Myernick. The guy who had won a national championship and coached the MNT and the US Olympic team loved the game enough to be talking the pros and cons of zonal defending with me. And it was genuine... you could just tell.
When the evening ended, we shook hands and he gave me his phone number with the instructions that if I ever had any questions I should call him. I didn't, but I knew he meant it.
I had the chance to run into Mooch three or four more times in the following years, and he remembered me each time, by name, and asked about the zone defense...
His family, the game of soccer, and the rest of us who just knew him a little have lost one of the good guys.
I can't say Moochie would have remembered me from our high school days, but I've always been an admirer of his soccer abilities and storied career. Back then, Moochie stood out like a man among boys, with his great soccer skills. I competed against him in 1972 as a goalie for Notre Dame High, while he played for cross-town rival Lawrence. I recall our first game against them, one that we ultimately pulled out 2-1.
With us up 1-0 at the time, a penalty kick was awarded to Lawrence. I'll never forget standing on the goal line looking up seeing Moochie prepare to take the kick. As the whistle sounded I sprung to my right, and Moochie launched the ball. I guessed right, and pulled off what I thought had to be a miracle – I stopped a penalty kick off Moochie Myernick! Just as quickly as that incredible thought had crossed my mind, I heard a whistle from the referee. He waved off the save, saying that I had moved too soon. Moochie re-shot, this time blowing it right by me. But this is a memory I'll always keep fondly about Moochie. (By the way, the next time we faced Lawrence they routed us 7-0, with Moochie playing a large role in the win.)
It was a tremendous shock hearing of his passing. My heart goes out to the Myernick family and to all those who knew him.
Growing up in Oneonta, N.Y., in the Sixties, my sports heroes were the soccer greats of Hartwick College. As a true blue 'Wick fan, I followed Hartwick wherever their greatness took them and the golden years of the Seventies provided many opportunities to see them play at the highest levels in collegiate soccer. Moochie was one of those giants during those years, and one of the very best. I will always remember the NCAA Division One Final Four in Philadelphia in 1976, where Hartwick, after losing 1-0 to an upstart and never-before-heard-of Indiana team, went on to play Clemson University for third place. What an awesome game – easily the best game of the Final Four – and an equally awesome performance by Moochie where he displayed his considerable talents anchoring Hartwick's defense. He was a joy to watch.
James E. Close
and a true blue 'Wick fan
|Mooch visited South Africa in September as part of the U.S. State Department's Sports Envoy Initiative.
© U.S. Soccer
Mary Ellen Koenig
Cultural Affairs Officer
U.S. Embassy Pretoria
It was a shock to hear about the passing of Mooch Myernick. Some people you never forget and I, Dale Russell and Duval Minors wish to express our condolences to Mooch's wife and Family. We played at Philadelphia Textile between 1973-1977 and the matches against Hartwick were always a special event. They played a very attractive style of soccer and rarely panicked. Mooch was a large part of that special brand of soccer and the way he played the sweeper role in that team was magnificent to watch. Even though I was his opponent, I had to admire how he controlled his defense. That team included Billy Gazonas and Art Napolitano, all three who we later had contact with as professionals.
Although I have not seen Mooch (only on TV) since those days, the memory of that wonderful team is still fresh. He shall be a great loss.
John B Nusum
Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science
Words are so inadequate to express how much you meant to everyone involved with the team. Your impact on me will remain forever. You always put others ahead of yourself. Thank you for sharing, teaching and caring. You were a great coach and a truly wonderful person. I am honored to have shared my time with you and to call you my friend.
With love to the Myernick Family,
Like so many others, I am deeply saddened by Mooch's passing. We have lost a fantastic coach, teacher, mentor, and most devastatingly, a fantastic person.
His knowledge of the game and ability to relate to others, be they coaches in a licensing course (I had the privilege of taking part in one with "Mooch" as an instructor), players, or even the general public, was second to none. He was a true professional, confident and tremendously capable of matching soccer intellects with anyone in the world. Yes, that was the business side of "Mooch".
Perhaps what I'll most fondly remember is the "people" side of "Mooch." As busy as he usually was whenever I saw him, he would always make time to say, “Hello,” and have a conversation about something or someone we knew back in Jersey or just to make sure we were both doing well. He was genuine and humble. That made him so easy to get along with. That and a sense of humor that will have me smiling and laughing whenever I think of him, for the rest of my life.
Yes, we lost a great one, but we are all lucky to have known him. We can all be thankful for that. Rest in eternal peace, "Mooch", and may your family and friends feel the comfort soon that comes with knowing that you will live on within them all.
Though far from a close friend of Mooch's (even though when we only spoke annually, he treated me as one), I'm proud to be a member of the soccer coaching fraternity with him. We chatted often during NSCAA clinics and conventions over the years (remarking once upon a time how it seemed that the most dedicated and successful coaches had a habit of showing up for the Sunday morning clinics!) and most recently I was pleased as he did his usually fine job at the NSCAA Symposium last December during the NCAA Men's Championship. I always found his clinic sessions to be among the best and among those that churned up and ignited my soccer brain. I'm so glad I told him so last year.
I traveled to the National Soccer Hall of Fame with my father this past summer, an important pilgrimage for the two of us as lifelong soccer fanatics. I was insistent in also visiting Hartwick College, in large part to absorb the vital soccer history the institution has contributed ... to celebrate Mooch among others. Most importantly, Mooch has always been a man of class and a man among men with respect to his professionalism and love of the game and people. My best thoughts and prayers go out to Mooch, to his family, and to those fortunate enough to know him well. His loss is tremendous to U.S. soccer and humanity.
Rest well friend,
Kevin M. Sims
Director of Athletics
Gaston Day School
Nancy, Kelly and Travis Myernick,
I was participating in the soccer program at Hartwick College when your father joined Jim Lennox on the coaching staff. He had an immediate impact on me, the team and the community. Beyond the many things he taught me on the pitch, he contributed greatly to making me a better person. When you were down he picked you up. When it was time to be tough, he was. You always knew were you stood with Mooch. And you were always proud to stand by him!
My coach & friend, I'll miss you Mooch!
Class of "89" - Hartwick College
I was 13-years-old and so were the guys on my club team. We were on a noisy bus headed north towards the Meadowlands and Giant Stadium. Most folks on that hot day were going to see Beckenbauer, Etherington, Tueart, Chinaglia, Alberto, and the new guys "Bogi." "Eski" and Birkenmeier. Not me. I was going to see Moochie Myernick, a professional soccer player from my home town.
Mooch was starting at sweeper that day and so was I...in a warm-up game before the Cosmos kicked it off against the Dallas Tornado. It was all such a blur that I can really only recall a few things from that afternoon. I remember disco music blaring, I remember being inconsolable after we lost, and I remember a long-haired Moochie, in his bright red uniform, appearing on the field out of nowhere. I got a quick pat on the back, a wink, and a few kind words: "YOU PLAYED WELL." Then he darted away to warm up for his game against the World's greatest players.
I only saw Moochie once more, a few years later. He had come back home for a visit and surprised our team by showing up for an impromptu training session at his old high school. His playing career was winding down and he had a little less hair at that point, but he was still so quick...and he still seemed 10 feet tall to me. I'll always be grateful for the memories I have from those brief encounters.
To the Myernick family: I hope and pray that the wonderful memories you cherish of a son, husband, and father, will give you strength during this difficult time and sustain you in the years to come.
With deepest sympathy,