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MLS Players Follow Fathers' Lines
MLSnet.com , June 22nd, 2009 2:45PM

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Sunday was Father's Day in North America, and while many current MLS players were themselves recipients of cards and gifts from their loved ones, a handful of players wished a happy Father's Day to men who were, at one point in time, professional athletes.

In total, 10 current MLS players are the sons of former professional or international soccer players. The fathers of Kenny Cooper, Alecko Eskandarian, Ciaran and Leighton O'Brien, Taylor Twellman and Chris Wingert all played professionally in the North American Soccer League. Mehdi Ballouchy and Danleigh Borman's fathers had careers overseas, while Amaechi Igwe and Macoumba Kandji's fathers represented their respective national teams (Fran O'Brien and Andranik Eskandarian played internationally for their countries as well).

Another group of players took their fathers athletic genes but decided to buck family traditions in the pursuit of professional soccer. Seattle Sounders FC forward Jarrod Smith, whose father played international cricket for New Zealand, chose soccer and now represents the New Zealand national team. Marvell Wynne is the son of Marvell Wynne Sr., a former Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates baseball player. The fathers of Danny O'Rourke and Jonathan (Nate) Jaqua, who also gave their first names to their sons, played professional football. O'Rourke was a wide receiver for the Houston Oilers, while Jaqua played safety for the Washington Redskins before serious injury ended his career prematurely. "My dad got kind of beat up playing football and couldn't keep playing," Jaqua said. "My mom kind of turned us away from playing football. But by the time I was old enough to even make that decision I was already hooked on soccer anyway.

"My older brother started playing soccer and I did whatever he did," Jaqua continued. "My dad never played soccer but he's actually gotten really into it over the years. I think now he watches more soccer than I do."

 

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