Off the PitchJun 16, 2019

Father's Day Q&A

For so many players in the MLS, life is a balancing act between family and the game. On Father's Day, hear from Evan Bush, Jimmy Maurer, and Raheem Edwards on the joys, and challenges, that being both a dad and professional athlete can bring.

Evan Bush is now in his eighth season with the Montreal Impact and he and his wife welcomed their third child earlier in the year. When Jimmy Maurer isn't in net for FC Dallas, he has three sons and a newborn daughter to keep him busy at home. Raheem Edwards is in his second season with the Chicago Fire and his second season as a dad to his son, Kai.

Q: Athletes already have a lot to balance, how do you balance being a professional player with being a dad?

Evan Bush: Every child we've welcomed into our family has changed the dynamic of our lives considerably. The first child obviously created the biggest shock. As an athlete, that was the most difficult transition as I no longer had as much time to recover the way I once did, so I needed to adjust my time management and efficiency of recovering from hard sessions, games, travel, etc. Now, it has become second nature, even with adding two more kids to the mix. I've made it a priority to try to be fully present in everything I do, whether that's being at training and games or being at home with my kids. They deserve it and I become much happier in doing so.

Jimmy Maurer: I don’t see it as anything I’m balancing but more that being a father balances me. No matter what happens on the field, I come home and see the excitement of my kids’ eyes light up, yelling “Daddy, Daddy!” and it just takes everything else away.

Raheem Edwards: Balancing the life of a professional athlete and a dad takes work, but isn’t too hard. After training we have most of the day off, so I am able to manage it just fine. Of course, it is harder when I’m out of town, so I FaceTime whenever I can to see my son and my girlfriend.

Q: How has being a dad changed you as a person? What about as a player?

Evan Bush: I have a greater perspective about what is important in life, and understanding that soccer is just a game to be enjoyed has lessened the tension and pressure in big moments. I know that I can always come back to my kids, who don't care how the game went or what the critics might have to say. That makes playing the game so much easier from that standpoint.

Raheem Edwards: Becoming a dad has changed me so much as a person. I have more responsibility because I have another mouth to feed and take care of. As a player, it has made me more focused and serious in everything I do on and off the field.

via @evanbush1

Q: What’s your favorite thing about being a Dad?

Evan Bush: My favorite thing about being a dad is seeing the smiles on their faces when they know they've done something to make me proud. My two older kids are understanding these types of things now since they are at school and in sports. They don't need to be superstars in anything, but if they are applying themselves and being courteous and polite I am very proud of them and they can sense that, which makes them proud and confident.

Jimmy Maurer: Being a Dad is just an indescribable combination of love, pride, and responsibility. It’s the most amazing thing in the world.

Raheem Edwards: My favourite thing about being a dad is just having the responsibility of taking care of my son, who is a carbon copy of me and my girlfriend.

via @rvheem_

Q: Do you have any favorite soccer memories with your kids?

Evan Bush: My favorite memories happen long after the games are over and they can join me on the field to run around and enjoy an empty stadium while feeling like pros! It makes them feel special and makes me smile seeing them enjoy the stadium that I have played at for nearly a decade now.

Jimmy Maurer: My favorite soccer moments with my kids have been the simple times of just getting them down on the field with me after games and having a walk and just us kicking the ball around!

Raheem Edwards: A special soccer moment I had with Kai was when he came to see me play for the first time in Chicago. He didn’t quite know I was playing soccer until he saw me and then he gave me the brightest smile I’ve ever seen in my life. He enjoyed the atmosphere and being around so many people.

via @jimsmaurer