Bays players juggle busy schedule on and off the field Soccer burnout no factor for those with second jobs

August 03, 1991|By Tara Finnegan

Juggling a professional soccer career in addition to a full-time job may seem like a hectic way of life. But for some of the Maryland Bays, it has become a routine.

And, for Steve Powers, Rob Ryerson and Darryl Gee, teamwork doesn't end when they walk off the soccer field.

They also have off-field jobs with the Bays.

Powers is the team's marketing director, responsible for advertising and sales, and has been working with the Bays front office staff since last year.

A 1987 University of Maryland graduate with a major in radio/television/film, Powers worked in Washington for Sports News Network from January 1990 to October 1990.

"When they [Sports News Network] moved to New Jersey, I contemplated whether to move or not," he said.

But, after being offered the marketing director's job by Bays president and general manager John Liparini, Powers decided to stay and take the job.

Two months later, SNN folded.

During the season, Powers said, he occasionally gets an afternoon off to work on his game, but is always out on the field one hour before every practice to work on his goalkeeping with coach Gary Hindley.

Even with a life surrounded by soccer, Powers said he does not suffer from Bays burnout.

"I thought I would, but actually I haven't," Powers said.

Also working with Powers in the front office is midfielder Ryerson, who is the camp and community relations director.

Ryerson, along with Powers and defender Gee, went to Howard County middle schools this year and gave speeches and demonstrations to promote the Bays and deliver an anti-drug, stay-in-school message.

"Also, we did juggling acts and showed off a little so they knew we were professional soccer players," Ryerson said.

A native of Howard County, Ryerson said he enjoys working in the Columbia community.

"I always wanted to talk to kids and maybe be some type of role model for them," he said.

Because practices are at 6:30 p.m., Ryerson said the days are used to go to schools or camps, but added, "part of my work is having responsibilities at practice."

Gee, like Ryerson and Powers, also has soccer responsibilities on and off the field. In addition to being co-director of the Maryland Bays Summer Camps with Ryerson, he runs the Darryl Gee Soccer Academy out of his office in Silver Spring. He runs camps across the state, from Salisbury and Ocean City to Howard and Montgomery counties.

Even though his camp is not affiliated with the Bays organization, Gee said Bays players help with the camps.

"We've combined staff with the Bays organization," Gee said. "A lot of the territories the Bays are in are my territories, too. We've both benefited from one another."

Gee said he plans to expand his 7-year-old operation next year, but "the main thing is to still work with the Bays."

Gee, 29, said he plans to "fall back on his business" when he decides to end his playing career. "Even if I did decide to stop, it would be a smooth transition."

But that doesn't seem any time soon for Gee.

"When you enjoy what I do, and I certainly do, you don't get burned out."

Forwards Jean Harbor and Kevin Sloan, who have jobs outside the Bays organization, are known for their scoring chemistry. They rank among the league leaders at 32 and 22 points, respectively.

And, for Harbor, the right chemistry is just as important off the field.

Harbor works as a biochemist for Science Application International Corp. in Ruggville.

Harbor mixes chemicals and works with radioactive materials as part of his physical research for government and corporate projects.

Harbor said he works with such caustic chemicals as hydrochloric and nitric acid and experiments with them to find safe ways to dispose of low-level radioactive materials.

"It's not a big deal," Harbor said. "You just have to handle it with care. You have to take special classes to be qualified."

Despite his frequent contact with radioactive materials, Harbor said his job is "very, very safe."

With a 7 a.m.-to-3 p.m. weekday work schedule, Harbor said he manages to fit in soccer and work, but it isn't easy when the Bays are traveling.

"It's hard, and it takes up my vacation time," Harbor said.

Harbor also said company management is understanding of his commitments and makes it easy for him to fulfill his team obligations.

Sloan, like Harbor, sports a busy schedule juggling work -- as a food broker for the Leaman Company in Columbia -- and the Maryland Bays.

"Soccer is a priority, so I was looking to find a job where they were understanding of the situation," Sloan said. "And they're great. They have been real understanding."

Sloan said he, like other players, need jobs in addition to professional soccer.

"Basically, [other jobs] supplement income," he said. "Soccer is a part-time job."

Even though there are players who live solely off their soccer income, Sloan said many found other jobs because they were not sure how successful the American Professional Soccer League would be.

In contrast to the gloves, goggles and glasses Harbor wears at work each day, Sloan may be seen wearing a shirt and tie.

"You represent different brands of food and go to supermarkets or headquarters and try to sell them," Sloan said.

He said he spends a lot of time on the road in northern Virginia.

"I spend most of my day traveling," Sloan said. "It's kind of chaotic, but I enjoy it."

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