What Ever Happened To: Guy Newman

NASL and MISL alum Guy Newman, during his time with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.  Photo courtesy of Guy Newman.By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (May 16, 2012) US Soccer Players — Guy Newman is one of those who played in both the outdoor and indoor version of the sport in this country throughout the 1970s and ‘80s. Like many who played in the original North American Soccer League, Newman had to transition and play indoors when the outdoor pro league folded. For Newman, he didn’t care whether he played on natural grass or on a green carpet under a roof.

“I love both games,” the former defender said.  “Just as when I was a kid, I loved playing five-a-side or 11-a-side, it didn’t matter as long as I was playing. I used to say, however, that if I was playing in San Diego in August I would prefer the outdoor game, but if I was in Buffalo in January I would prefer the indoor variety.”

Newman, the son of former English player and famed coach Ron Newman, won the US Open Cup in 1977 with Maccabi Los Angeles, a semipro club, before signing with the NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies. In 1978, he played for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and followed his father to the expansion Miami Americans two years later in the American Soccer League. The team lasted one season and folded. In 1980, Ron Newman was named coach of the San Diego Sockers, and again, Guy followed his dad.

Newman, now 54, said his father was “a huge influence on me” as a player.

“When I was young, he was still a player, and I used to watch him play and all I wanted to be when I grew up was to be a soccer player just like him,” he said.  “In fact, I never entertained anything else.”

After retiring as a player in 1987, Newman again followed his dad as an assistant coach at the Sockers from 1987 to 1993. When the Las Vegas Dustdevils of the Continental Indoor Soccer League called in 1994, Newman left to become head coach. The cash-strapped Dustdevils folded at the end of the 1995 season and Newman was out of work. In 1996, with the start of Major League Soccer, Newman worked as an assistant to his father at the Kansas City Wizards.  Guy Newman left the team in 2000.  Three years ago, he joined the Encinitas Express near San Diego, where he now works as director of coaching for the community-based club which fields teams of all ages.

“As I am too old to play anymore, I enjoy the coaching part of the game. I enjoying working with young players and hope I help create for all my players the same passion that I have for the game,’’ he said.  “I guess it is part of my family’s quest to keep promoting the game in this country. We have been doing it for almost a half a century now.” 

Newman’s biggest achievement may have been during his three seasons of indoor soccer with the Sockers in the Major Indoor Soccer League.

“Those were some exciting times. People still talk about those days with the Sockers in the ‘80s,” he said.  “There were great players who were fantastic personalities. People always say that the hardest thing about being at the top is staying there. The Sockers managed to do it 10 out of 11 years.”

Playing both indoor and outdoor soccer was a grueling task, Newman said, and often the Sockers had to decide which tournament to focus on. One such year was 1983, when the Sockers had to play the MISL Championship just days before the start of the NASL outdoor season.

“One of the best memories for me was when we beat Baltimore in the MISL championship. We were then the current champions of the NASL indoor, but had moved to the MISL to play with some of the other teams as the NASL had decided to sit out a year of indoor. The MISL lasted a lot longer than the NASL and the season seemed to go on and on,” he said. “The playoffs also last forever and it became apparent that if we kept winning that the indoor season was going to overlap into the NASL outdoor season. Unfortunately, the two leagues didn’t seem to be on good terms with each other and weren’t willing to work together. So we had to play our championship series against Baltimore right around our opening outdoor game which was against Team America. It was crazy as were trying to win the championship of the MISL and also try and get ready for the NASL season all at the same time. Both games required different types of fitness, so it was very difficult."

Newman recalled that the MISL finals had “whipped the city of San Diego up into a frenzy” after the Sockers won its two first games at home, 6-0 and 7-0.”

“Going back to Baltimore was a different story however, and after two exciting games there, the series had gone to two wins apiece. The fifth and final game was to be decided back in San Diego on the Monday, but two days before that we were suppose to open up our NASL season,” he said.

“Our top priority at that time was to win the MISL championship so many players didn’t want to play in the NASL opener for fear of getting injured and missing the final game. For me, the more games the better so I played. I actually got a knee in the thigh during the game, so I was scared I wasn’t going to be fit for Monday. After icing all day on Sunday, I was OK and we played and won that decider 3-1 to win the championship. We didn’t get to celebrate too much as we had another NASL outdoor game Wednesday that we had to prepare for.”

Clemente Lisi is a New York-based writer. Contact him at: CAL4477@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/ClementeLisi

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