Against Chivas USA last Saturday, Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad became the oldest player to play in an MLS game, passing previous record holder Preki. Onstad’s teammates may have given him some grief about setting the record, but they have the utmost respect for his accomplishment and the career he has put together.
“He’s getting so old, he is setting down some roots way down in the ground,” joked Craig Waibel. “It’s cool to play with someone who has that type of dedication to the sport. It’s impressive.”
“It’s amazing,” forward Brian Ching said. “Will I be playing at 42? No. Will I have the drive to play at 42? No. It shows how mentally strong he is and how he has taken care of himself through the years to still be playing at this level.”
Onstad himself is proud of the accomplishment, especially in lieu of his travels, which have taken him from teaching physical education to A-League soccer and everywhere in between.
“I think it’s great,” noted the Canadian goalkeeper. “I wouldn’t want to be running around like Preki was at my age, but it’s a badge of honor at 42 to be able play professional soccer or any professional sport.”
As for how much longer Onstad thinks he can keep going, the Canadian always saves that decision for the end of each season, although the thought occasionally crosses his mind.
“It always crosses your mind; you have a bad game, and you think the end is near,” joked Onstad. “I taught physical education, I did the A-League circuit, indoor, and some time in Scotland. Have bag, will travel. It’s been an enjoyable experience. There have been days with fields a mess, no lighting, no fans, and a race to the bank to cash your paycheck. It’s nice to finish my career in a growing and great league.”
While head coach Dominic Kinnear does not mind talking about Onstad’s age, he believes his goalkeeper’s performance continues to stand apart from his MLS counterparts.
“Everyone wants to [talk about] his age, but his performance should be the focus,” said Kinnear. “For any young goalkeeper, you have a great example in this league not only from a guy that has played for a good number of years, but a guy that has set a good example by how he plays and prepares himself.”
Defender Eddie Robinson agreed with his head coach and hopes the veteran Onstad does not retire any time soon.
“I feel like over the last 10 years in this league, he’s been the most consistent goalkeeper anywhere,” noted Robinson. “Pat always seems to make the big save when we need him. We’ve done well shutting down teams offensively, but we give up one or two shots on goal, but those shots are always good chances, and Pat always comes up big and bails us out time and time after time.”
“I don’t see him quitting anytime soon and I sure hope he doesn’t,” continued the defender. “It’s a nice feeling having him back there. There’s an extra confidence knowing I may make a mistake and he can bail me out.”
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.