When it was announced that Kyle Martino was leaving NBC Sports after seven years, many of us were disappointed. I went searching for answers. However, none of my assumptions have been correct…so far.
The Premier League is probably bigger in America than Major League Soccer. Kyle’s expert commentary is a piece of what brought it there. For too long we were stuck with the likes of Taylor Twellman and Alexi Lalas holding strong as American commentators. And they make me want to pull my hair out.
Martino and his NBC colleagues performed the perfect balancing act every weekend. And while Tim Howard is doing an okay job as his replacement, Kyle is sorely missed by many.
Builder of stuff
We no longer need to speculate about what’s next for Kyle Martino. However it’s not at all what I had initially expected.
In multiple interviews since his departure, Martino has talked about his career and the impact it has on family. Weekends haven’t been free for him for the majority of his life, between playing and his role as an analyst. Now that they are, he never has to worry about missing his daughter Marlowe’s soccer games. And he can be a more physically present father to all three of his children than he otherwise would have been able.
That family bond is both blood and chosen. As soccer fans, we are part of a global community that lives and breathes the game. Kyle knows this. He’s been part of it as a fan, player, analyst, and now fan again. Though I suppose the fandom doesn’t go away simply because you’re playing a more specific role in the game.
Haus, brainchild of Kyle Martino, is a two-story football clubhouse and membership community in the historic Greenpoint, Brooklyn neighborhood. Our members are like-minded people with a shared passion for the beautiful game. Haus is a place to work, have fun, meet and enjoy football together.
This is everything. While it’s exciting to watch your favorite team by yourself, the ability to watch with like-minded folks brings things to a whole new level. I’ve written in the past about Boston Spurs Supporters Club, and how my Tottenham fandom reached new heights with such a rabid, yet thoughtful group. Many a weekend in Brooklyn I would meet my buddy Sean and his brothers either at a bar or one of their homes to watch matches. That sibling-hood is enriched by the beautiful game.
I’m both ecstatic and upset that Martino has cooked up Haus this year. The excitement should be obvious. A gathering that doesn’t need to take place at a bar, and feels like a home (because it is one), is true community. But, of course, it came to fruition as a pandemic forced me out of New York.
However if you’re living in Brooklyn you should consider joining. The place looks stunning, there are games in the yard, and there’s space in the kitchen for you to bring your favorite beers. I’m hoping some day in the not too distant future I can join this community. And maybe Kyle and I can become best friends. Hey, I can dream.
The Over Under Initiative is a non-profit dedicated to increasing access to sport by converting public basketball courts and blacktops into multi-sport play spaces. We believe accessibility to sport is the most impactful way communities can address the health crisis kids in the United States are facing. That’s why we’re working with cities around the country to #openplay for the kids in their communities.
Youth sports programs are expensive. I’ve railed about US Soccer in the past. Accessibility is a huge problem. You shouldn’t have to be rich and white to guarantee your ability to play a game you love. There’s so much unused or inaccessible space across the country, and The Over Under Initiative is finding ways to change that.
Martino has quite literally taken to the community with this non-profit. It’s a great reminder that “community” isn’t just your circle. We have to find ways to give back and ensure that ample opportunities exist for our country’s youth.
One of the ways to do that is Goalpher.
GOALPHER, the game-changing goal system, is the solution. This patent pending technology will make up for lost time by activating available spaces and unused courts for the millions of kids who are ready, willing and excited to play The Beautiful Game. Our country can be the vanguard of soccer innovation by offering the most convenient game delivery system on the planet, for the world’s most popular game. Faster than it takes for me to finish this sentence our goals will appear on a field, court, or any other space the game can be played.
In Haus, Kyle Martino has installed one of these goal systems. It’s an installation in the ground that you can simply pull up, then stash away easily once you’re done with it. While these would be absolutely dope to have installed in my back yard, think of the impact something like this could have in public space.
These are but a few of the things that former US Soccer Presidential candidate Kyle Martino has built.
And he’s just getting started. All of these initiatives have gotten off the ground relatively recently, and it’s only a matter of time before Martino concocts yet another game-changing idea. I, for one, cannot wait to see what he does next.
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