Bays' Mettrick learns to put goals in order

January 13, 1995|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Contributing Writer

No one has to tell Mark Mettrick how priorities can change.

As a single parent and first-year coach of a Division I soccer program, Mettrick has had to shift his primary focus from scoring goals to striving to reach long-term ones.

When Mettrick declined the Spirit's offer to play for the club during this National Professional Soccer League season, it wasn't because there was any love lost for the game. The former Blast standout still craves the competition; he just didn't want it to imperil his newest passion -- coaching.

"When I was offered to play for the Spirit, I considered it at first, but after I thought about it awhile, I realized that it might jeopardize my future at the college, and I didn't want to do that," said Mettrick, who was named Northeast Conference men's soccer Coach of the Year last fall after leading Mount St. Mary's to an 11-6-2 record and the team's first NEC tournament berth since 1990.

"I think I can still play at that level and still contribute, but it wouldn't have been in my best interest," he said. "The travel and time demands [of the NPSL] would be too much. My main focus now is coaching, and my son, then playing soccer."

The former two-time All-American from Hartwick College satisfies his third interest by playing for the Baltimore Bays of the U.S. Interregional Soccer League.

Entering tonight's game against the Reading Freedom, Mettrick, a native of Glossup, England, is the Bays' co-leader in scoring with fellow countryman Billy Ronson. After getting a goal and an assist during the Bays' two-game sweep last weekend in Florida, Mettrick has 10 goals and seven assists, placing him fifth in the league in points with 27.

"I spend a lot of time in the office these days, and it feels great to get out and play," said Mettrick, who lives in a home on Mount St. Mary's Emmitsburg campus with his 2-year-old son, Matthew. "It's a nice release for me, and playing for the Bays has helped me make the transition from playing to coaching.

"On Friday and Saturday nights, I come down here and play for the Bays, and it lets me get some energy out. I think if I stopped completely, I would go crazy."

Bays coach Kevin Healey doesn't see that happening any time soon. As far as he's concerned, Mettrick has some of his best soccer ahead.

"Mark Mettrick would be an all-star in the NPSL, without a doubt," said Healey. "He's still at the top of his game; he just chooses not to play in the NPSL because, like a lot of players in our league, he has chosen to get another career started so that down the road he'll be better off financially."

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