Ian Weinberg doesn’t mind traveling the globe to find a good soccer match. It’s perhaps a bit of a surprise that he has found the chance to play again so close to home. Weinberg hopes to make an impact with the Tacoma Stars this winter. The Garfield High and Western Washington University grad has been a stalwart already for other pro indoor clubs. Now it is time to shine with the Stars.
I recently had the chance to ask Ian a few questions about his career and his trial with the Stars. See the Q & A below!
SSE: Catch us up on your soccer career. How does a Garfield High School guy go from Bellingham to Germany to San Diego?
Ian: I was recruited from Garfield to play up at Western. It was a great experience up there and I learned and grew a lot as a soccer player. I credit a lot of that to the coaches, as I don’t think I was very talented coming out of high school, but they saw the potential in me and fortunately I was able to live up to that my last couple years there. My senior year I was commuting down to train with the Sounders (of the USL), then driving back for class every day. That lasted about a month or two and I didn’t see myself getting a contract, so I decided to try my luck in Germany. After a lonely season, I decided to come back and give it another go here in the States.
I spent some time indoor with the Cleveland Force and the Stockton Cougars and outdoor with the Harrisburg City Islanders. Nothing really stuck until I wound up in San Diego and started playing with San Diego United (now Sockers team). I really enjoyed my time down there and was playing with a talented group of players. In the Summer of 2009 I was invited to represent the USA and be a part of the Maccabiah Futsal team in Israel. It was an incredible experience, and it was awesome to captain the squad and wear a jersey with USA on the front.
What brings you back to the Puget Sound, and a shot at playing for the Tacoma Stars?
I went to the Maccabiah games which are essentially the Israeli Olympics. Held every four years in Israel, 60 countries bring over 40,000 athletes to compete in every sport you can imagine. Each athlete must have some sort of connection to Judaism.
After playing futsal in Israel I decided to stick around and travel in the Middle East for a few months. That was the tail end of eleven months backpacking around South and Central America and frankly, it just seemed like it was time to come home. My family and best friends all live in Seattle. I ran into Todd Stauber and he told me about the tryouts, so naturally I said, let’s do this.
Now you have your own fitness business?
Since returning to Seattle I have started IanFitness (www.ianfitness.com) which has really taken off. I do one on one training and fitness boot camps in Seattle. We are training about 75 people a week and really getting awesome results. I love working with people to help them get in great shape and have an opportunity to fully enjoy life.
Talk about your indoor soccer experiences. Where has this offshoot of soccer taken your career over the years?
I was fortunate enough to wind up in Cleveland when I first started playing indoor and was able to really learn the game from a great Coach, Omid Namazi. You need to be more than just a talented soccer player to be successful playing indoor at a high level, and I was lucky to get an understanding early on of how to play. The assistant coach of the Cleveland Force was the one who recommended my name to the guys putting the futsal team together for Israel, so that was fortunate for me and going over there to play was by far the coolest thing I have done in my soccer career.
(Todd Stauber recruited me to play at Western and was my coach my first two years in the outdoor game. He instilled in me a real sense of competitiveness and demand for quality first touches. He was the single biggest influence over my soccer career and I am really excited to have an opportunity to play with him this season.)
Describe your indoor assets and playing style.
I am tenacious and very aggressive both offensively and defensively and feel like I have a good touch on the ball and understanding of the game. I like to take players on one on one and create goal scoring opportunities for myself and teammates.
What are your observations about the Stars tryouts? How was the talent level?
There was a very strong group of guys out there. It was really competitive. With Greg (Howes) getting guys into the right position and everyone on the same page, we will be very tough to beat.
Do you still have goals left to achieve as an indoor player?
I have a saying I use with my clients. You are either getting better or you are getting worse. I still think there is room for growth and improvement in my game, and I anticipate getting better especially being around players like Greg, Leighton (O’Brien) , and Stauber on a daily basis. I know this team won the championship last year, and it would be great to do it again this year in the pro division.