By Dr. Jon Coles
A Soccer Family Dynasty
Imagine witnessing your son score a goal in the NCAA Division I Sweet 16 soccer tournament, and the assist comes from your other son. The experience is next-level on the proud parenting meter.
Particularly, if they are following in your footsteps, as a former collegiate and professional athlete. Being a small part of their journey and witnessing them fulfilling their dreams has been an amazing ride for Joey Barone.
He watched all four of his boys have amazing success at Michigan State University including All-Big Ten, NCAA Final Four participants, leading scorer, Big 10 Champion, All-American, and being drafted into the MLS.
The father, and former coach to the boys, shared what kept his sons grounded, motivated, and successful.
“We never wanted it to define us”
Although the Barone name is synonymous with soccer in Michigan, Joey does not want his family to be defined by their success as players on the pitch. Family is and always has been number one. Joey prefers the boys are caring husbands, positive role models, and good human beings over being great athletes.
“I never pushed them at home”
Joey coached all three boys until about 12 years of age but never wanted them to do it because of him. He would ask if they wanted to “kick it around” in the backyard but never made them. He never talked about achievements or scholarships. He wanted them to own their experience.
“We had balance”
Joey and the boys were like most families. They played backyard football, home run derby, and basketball in the driveway. All of the boys played basketball until 8th grade when THEY made the decision to concentrate on soccer.
“The goal was to be healthy and happy”
Joey is a praying man, but he’s never prayed for soccer success. He knows there are a lot of unhealthy and unhappy individuals playing professional soccer. His goal was that the kids played hard and consistently gave 100 percent. His goal was to support his boys in becoming healthy and happy.
Dr. Jon Coles is a former collegiate coach, administrator, and high school athletic director.
He is now a practicing sports counselor and professor of sport management.
Dr. Coles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org