If you were born on St. Patrick’s Day and of Irish heritage, would the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish be the right school for you?
If you looked forward to playing soccer in front of friends and family and you were from the St. Louis area, would signing with AC St. Louis be the right decision?
If you’re 23-year-old Jack Traynor, the answers are yes and yes. Perhaps its some good Irish luck, perhaps smarts, that the left-footed left back seemingly ends up in the right place. Probably a little bit of both, but I’d put my money on smarts, as Jack was named to the Big East Academic All Star team his junior year at Notre Dame and achieved a degree in accounting in three and a half years. Jack, the son of Larry and Peg Traynor, comes by his athletic ability naturally, as his father played collegiate football at Benedictine University in Kansas. Jack also was a member of the local Scott Gallagher team that claimed the U-17 National Championship in 2004 as well as playing with then and now teammate Chad Becker at Francis Howell North High School. When Fanatic founder Dave Trotter was in Miami a few weeks ago talking with the Miami FC President Aaron Davidson, General Manager Luiz Muzzi and Director of Soccer (and legendary former player) Fernando Clavijo, the first thing they mentioned was how AC St. Louis ‘stole’ Jack from Miami, the team he played 20 games for in 2009. Although the accusation was good-natured, they all agreed that Jack was a “quality player” and “an extremely nice guy.”
Recently I had a chance to visit with Jack. I asked him about signing with AC St. Louis. He said he’d been talking to the team, and “when it was announced that Claude Anelka and Francisco Filho were involved with the organization, that clinched it.” Since signing and beginning training, Jack related that “all has been great, on and off the field. I’m excited about the hype of our new team taking off.”
Jack was drafted by the New York Red Bulls in the second round of the MLS SuperDraft in 2009 after graduating from Notre Dame, and trialed with Norwegian team Aalesunds FK before signing with Miami FC that year. As a player who started for Notre Dame in their season opener as a freshman against SMU, I asked Jack about the difference between the college and pro game. “Everything… the pace is a bit faster, every player has more technical ability. You have to really take care of your body, and totally focus on soccer.”
Jack also talked about AC St. Louis’ recent 2-0 loss to the Kansas City Wizards last week. The Kansas City weather dropped about 30 degrees during the game and the winds really picked up, and despite losing, Jack said “We’re not that far off. Kansas City has some quality players with international experience like Josh Wolff and Jimmy Conrad, but our defense was clicking. We got better in the 2nd half, and started getting some chances offensively. As we’re together longer, we’re getting used to each other and we’re headed in the right direction, every practice, every game.”
Finally, I asked Jack about the upcoming season. Since he played last year in Division 2 for Miami FC, he has knowledge of some of the teams and players ACSTL will compete with. “Teams like Vancouver, Portland, Montreal and Puerto Rico are established teams who’ve had success. Every game we play, we need to make it a challenge.”
So far, Jack Traynor has shown that he can meet challenges, both in the classroom and on the field. After all, he is the left back who’s found that St. Louis is the right place to be.
Filed under: AC St. Louis | Tagged: AC St. Louis, Claude Anelka, Francis Howell North High School, Francisco Filho, Jack Traynor, Kansas City Wizards, Miami FC, New York Red Bulls, Notre Dame, Scott Gallagher |