FanPost

Men's Soccer

[Ed. note -- Front Page'd]

Interesting article from August, 2007 NY Times about two young soccer players and their dads. Turn the clock forward to 2012 - both have recently committed to play for BC.

"IT had been years since Erhardt Kapp and David Norris had seen each other, even though their sons saw each other every day.

The two men were drafted in 1981 by the Cosmos of the North American Soccer League, but had lost touch for more than 20 years.

After his playing career ended, Mr. Kapp, 48, settled in Somers and opened a soccer store in Mamaroneck, Kapp’s Wide World of Soccer. He and his wife, Gabrielle, were looking for an all-day kindergarten for their son, Alex, and settled on the German School New York, in White Plains, even though Alex did not speak a word of German.

Mr. Norris, 43, went to law school, met a German woman in London, got married and moved to Frankfurt. After Daniel was born, Mr. Norris, who works in financial services, moved his family to West Harrison and enrolled his son at the German School for a different reason: Daniel spoke German but not a word of English.

What he had in common with Alex, however, was the school, their love of soccer and a pedigree in the sport. Beyond that, they were simply two boys with soccer balls tethered to their feet.

During a play date at the Kapp house, Daniel Norris’ mother was surprised when she saw pictures of Erhardt from his Cosmos days. She said that her husband had played for the Cosmos, too.

“My wife called me and asked if I knew a David Norris from the Cosmos,” Mr. Kapp said. “I got his phone number. It was incredible.”

Now, years later, their sons are on a track to professional careers of their own. Alex, a promising goalkeeper, and Daniel, a skillful midfielder, will spend two weeks this winter training with the youth academy teams of Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League in London.

The boys, coached by their fathers, also led the Somers Lasers under-13 club to its second straight New York State Cup title and were recently selected for an elite regional team, putting them among the top 50 players in their age group on the East Coast.

“What’s different about these two boys is that they are like the kids in Europe — their No. 1 goal is to play professional soccer,” Mr. Kapp said. “For Daniel, day in and day out, he will kick the ball, juggle, work on his left foot. That’s what separates the kids. He has that professional mind-set, and that often makes the difference.

“For Alex, who is only 12, coaches from Tottenham and Real Madrid have seen him play, and they said he is as good or better than any of their academy goalkeepers.”

The European academy system, which some professional teams in the United States are trying to emulate, strives to attract the best young players in the world — often taking boys as young as 9 into their programs, which include intensive training and, of course, school.

Daniel, who turns 14 on Tuesday, has already spent time in England, training the last two winters with Tottenham.

“It’s really exciting,” Daniel said. “Everybody on the field was really, really sharp and played very fast. I had to get used to that. I learned a lot.”

Although many top American professional soccer players are now plying their trade in Europe, the move overseas is not as easy as it appears. Work rules in England make it next to impossible for a player without extensive experience on the senior United States national team to get a work visa. On the Continent, each country’s domestic league has restrictions on the number of non-European Union players who can be on the field at the same time.

That makes the Alex and Daniel all the more attractive to European clubs.

Daniel Norris holds German and Canadian passports, as well as a United States green card. His father, David, was born in England and has British and Canadian passports.

Erhardt Kapp was born in Romania and grew up in Germany, and his wife’s parents are Austrian, which means Alex will also have no visa worries should a team come calling with a contract.

“That’s the beauty of holding European passports,” David Norris said. “Although this is all exciting, as his father, I think education is important. That said, I’ve told Daniel to follow his dreams. I’m excited for him, but I don’t think he’s ready to make the jump to living in Europe.”

To which Daniel quickly responded, “I would move tomorrow.”

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