One-on-one conversation with GPS Omen's co-manager Greg Zuboff
- Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved with GPS Omens? - "I moved back to Boston after living in New York City for a year. At the time I moved back, my close friend and former teammate was playing with GPS and looped me into the training sessions. After a few nutmegs during small sided training, the then captains, Nick Christman and Dan MacGregor (what is dead may never die), gave me the nod to join the team. About a year later, the managerial posts opened up after Christman and MacGregor gave up their tenure and passed the batons to Harris Smriko and Tyler MacNee. MacNee had to relocate for work after a short managerial stint, and Jake Edwards and I were asked to fill in. I was fully bought into the GPS experience when I was asked to manage, and gratefully accepted the chance to do so."
- Being one of three co-managers of GPS Omens, how do you divvy up your managerial responsibilities? - "Jake and Harris are terrific partners. It's absolutely critical to have capable comrades who can take on a task and run with it to completion. Navigating through tournament documentation requirements, tracking down players and finding field space can all be tiresome tasks that take a diligent work ethic. I've full confidence that Jake and Harris will get us to the right place when they take on a task, and that makes a huge difference. Generally it's a "raise your hand" managerial strategy, where we divide up responsibilities on-the-go based on our professional workload or other availability (constraints) at any point in time. With that said, we do maintain a democratic process, where things like rosters (from Open Cup to weeknight small-sided sessions) are debated in the days leading up to showtime, while there are a few key responsibilities that each of us have taken on long-term ownership."
- Looking back at your run in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup run, how would you describe the team’s experience? Was it a success? And what, if anything, would you have done differently? - "We unanimously view the Open Cup run as a tremendous success and a great team building experience. Traveling, whether with teammates, friends or family, is a terrific way to build relationships, and that was certainly the case with the Open Cup. We spent many hours in buses and cars together, and celebrated our victories together as well. No doubt it was tough to swallow a 122nd minute loss to end it all. 5 PKs away from a match with the Revs is a great accomplishment, but we wanted more. It was bittersweet to watch Christos F.C. advance on against DC United, but all in we were happy to see amateur soccer succeeding across the board. If there was anything to do differently, I would recruit an eager intern to handle all the US Soccer paperwork! We're recruiting for the 2018 run now!"
- Now having competed against many other USASA sponsored state associations, how do you think Mass Soccer clubs stack up against the likes of Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland etc.? - "Mass soccer stands tall. The competition we have in the BSSL is what prepares us to face top competitors from other states. MA teams like Warehouse (FKA Battery) Gunners and Boston Olympiakos have proven themselves independently with great success in the Amateur Cup. We've faced fierce competition from teams in CT and NY in past cup runs, but we generally have competitive matches. One of the great aspects to the Open Cup is the forum to play teams that we're not familiar with from outside our division, and we welcome that opportunity."
- GPS Omen’s have been a perennial Mass Soccer powerhouse. In your opinion, what’s the secret to success? - "There's nothing secretive about our success. Generally we maintain a culture of camaraderie, where the boys are excited to show up and see their mates at training and games. We're intentional about taking on new players that fit that mold. This keeps guys accountable to show up for games and encourages one another to be the 10th man on a Thursday night to round out a 5v5 training session. The epitome of this is a very strong post-game cooler, the responsibility for which rotates each game. Boys take pride in showing up with a quality beverage selection and dishing out the MOTM (man-of-the-match) honors."
- Moving forward, what are the team’s goals for 2017, 2018 and beyond? - "It's a special year for GPS coming off the back of an undefeated BSSL season and a deep Open Cup run. Our forward looking goals are the same as they've been. We want to be top of the table in the BSSL come Thanksgiving, and strive to turn heads in the Open and Amateur cups."
- What is your favorite Mass Soccer memory? - "Pat Murray's scorpion goal in the final game of the 2016 BSSL season. Best finish I've ever witnessed live."
- What is it about soccer that’s so special to you and the GPS Omens team? - "It's two part. The first is an opportunity to be competitive in an otherwise collegial lifestyle. We all grew up playing and competing, and there aren't many other outlets for that focus and presence in our adult lives. The second is that the team is a great group of friends that socialize off the field. It's harder to meet new people and connect well in post-college life, and the team offers that for young and "old" guys alike. Also want to give thanks to Mass Soccer and the BSSL for running a tight ship. Both organizations make managing relatively seamless, all things considered. This breeds the great competition we find in our league and local tournaments. GPS very much appreciates your hard work."