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Jeremy Hall’s Rookie Diary: The First Game

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For most professional soccer players, that first game is an unforgettable one regardless of the circumstances. Realizing the dream of being a pro is enough to make any debut a special one, but for Jeremy Hall, his first game in Major League Soccer came with even more unforgettable circumstances.

Hall entered the New York Red Bulls' 3-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders in the 34th minute of a match that was slipping away from his club in front of a hostile and sold-out crowd at Qwest Field. Rather than cave under the pressure, Hall thrived, providing one of the few bright spots for the Red Bulls on that night.

In the first of what will be a new SBI series, Hall shares his thoughts and recollections of his first professional match. Here is his story:

A trip to Seattle and a debut to remember


Heading to Seattle I can honestly say that I was more excited than ever. I was going on my first trip as a professional, about to start off my career. We boarded the plane and got ready to take off on a long six-hour flight to the West Coast to take on the Seattle Sounders. The flight was long but I managed to watch two movies to cut the time out. The airline played Express on the TV monitors, and when that was done, I watched a classic movie in The Three Ninjas on my laptop. When we landed and went outside to the bus it was chilly and there was a light drizzle. We stayed at a Hyatt Hotel in downtown Seattle in a real nice area where I was able to walk around and go through the different stores and shops. I did learn that the very first Nordstrom's and Starbucks were in Seattle so that was pretty interesting.

The game Thursday was one that I will never forget. The atmosphere in the stadium was unbelievable! When we went our for warm ups the stadium was almost full and by the end of it the whole stadium was filled. It was loud and all you heard was the fans screaming for the home team. I have played in big games before but this game was a lot different from the rest. Being that this was my very first professional game on a Thursday night on ESPN2 with all my friends and family watching.

When coach told me to start warming up I was a bit shocked at first being that it was only about 30 minutes in the first half. I was running up and down the sideline just talking to myself trying to calm the nerves I had down while also laughing at what the fans were yelling at me. When they told me I was going in I don't even remember what was going through my head at that point, it was all a blur. I think after the first couple of minutes I started to settle in and felt more comfortable. It's definitely cool to debut in front of 30,000 fans, but just wish we could of played better than what we showed because we are capable of it!

Also on our trip to the West Coast we had a reserve game against the Portland Timbers. We played them at the University of Portland's soccer field where there also was a nice little crowd. The Timbers also had great fans as they were cheering the whole 90 minutes along with their chainsaws….YES!! Chainsaws. They had a free kick right outside the box when Jon Conway was setting us all up and I heard the chainsaw going and got just a little startled. Never have I seen that at a game before! I thought we played well, we created a chances but their goalie Steve Cronin came up big for them. We ended up drawing 0-0 in a hard fought game.

Getting my first game under my belt has given me more confidence than I had before. Playing in a great atmosphere against a good opponent was real exciting. I now know what to expect in my next game when I am called on to play. Were back in New York now and are preparing for our home opener against New England on Saturday night, it shall be a good one.


  1. What a young, talented, and so leveled headed!! what a great prospect the RB have landed here! love the behind the scenes report as well..keep up the good work Jeremy!!

  2. Ives,

    He is good. He did well on the field as the beloved Sounders were killing the Red Bulls down the right flank early in the game. He is a entertaining writer – I cannot say that for all MLS players who contribute to this column or others. Keep him on. Loved the article!!

  3. Ah yes, the three ninjas. What’s great about him is that he is just a kid. He has a bright future, I hope he plays well enough to make it into the MNT pool.

    Keep these behind-the-scenes articles coming Ives!

  4. the best part was he watched “The Three Ninjas”
    funny stuff.
    I would have been bowled over if he watched “The Last Dragon.”
    “Who’s the master!??!”

  5. Ok, a couple things:

    A: UP has a great field, I have fond memories.

    B: yes, nordstrom and starbucks are from Seattle. I guess he’s too young to know a world without starbucks. Coffee people is still better.

    C: Ives, why are all your sponsors following me on the twitter? Are they scanning off your tweet feed or are they getting emails from here? It’s a bit annoying, you know.

  6. The Portland Timbers celebrates the forestry background of the city, state and region. The Logo has a lumberjack axe in the center. The traditional representative of the team was Timber Jim, who roamed the sidelines with his modern axe, the chainsaw.

    He roused the fans with chainsaw roars, climbed the scaffolding, and led cheers. His tradmark was to have an enormous log on the field and when the Timbers scored, he would slice of a slab and display it to the crowd. At the end of the game, he would present it to the player who scored. If we won, Jim and the players would bring it to the Timber Army and raise the slabs in triumph. Magic, that! Jim goes all the way back to the original NASL Timbers. We now have a younger version, Timber Joe. Come hear the roar.

  7. My friend texted me from Newark airport last weekend asking if RBNY had a game because he just happened to be in the airport with them, and they all looked kinda pissed. That was a tough weekend…

    If it wasn’t for Hall, the game would’ve been completely unbearable. He did a great job, and I’m glad he’s writing for Ives’ blog.

  8. I’m all about some Chainsaws in the MLS.

    When I read articles or diaries like this, I automatically root for the person to do well. I don’t like the Red Balls but I’m for Hall now.

  9. Fantastic start to his career, how many current MLS players can say that they debuted in such an environment, hoping to read more reports as the season goes on.

  10. What a fun read. I grew up in the NW and take a lot of what it offers for granted, so it was fun seeing it through a non-native’s eyes.

    Would love more of these reports, with more revealed about the soccer experience in the clubhouse and on the sideline, as well as commentary on what happens on the field. Maybe a lot to ask, but it’d be a great angle onto the actual soccer.


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