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NASL Fanatic Exclusive Interview with Chris Lidholm

We thought it would be interesting to chat with one of the voices of USSF D2 soccer, Chris Lidholm   Chris and his partner, Buzz Lagos, do a great job announcing the NSC Minnesota Stars games that are streamed online.  In the first part of this two-part interview, we’ll talk with Chris about his background in soccer, and in part 2 we’ll focus on his experiences announcing soccer and his thoughts on USSF D2.

Chris, 38, was born in the Minneapolis suburb of Robbinsdale and is married with two teenage boys.  Besides being so involved with soccer, Chris is also a lacrosse fan (both of his sons play) and loves photography.  The Lidholms enjoy spending time at their cabin in northern Wisconsin.  A little known fact about Chris is that he played indoor professional football — he was a placekicker.

NASL Fanatic: How did your interest in soccer begin, Chris?

Chris: My interest in soccer comes directly from my parents, specifically my father.  When I was younger, every time they handed me a ball, I would put it on the ground and kick it.  My father thought “maybe soccer is in this kid’s future”.  So, they started taking me to Minnesota Kicks games when I was 4 years old and I was introduced to the sport that way.  We had season tickets every year (1976-1981) the Kicks were in Minnesota.  In that time, we only missed two games.  The Kicks played at the old Met Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota.  I saw many great NASL stars, including Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and  Girogio Chinaglia of the Cosmos, Karl-Heinz Granitza of the Chicago Sting and the late Patrick “Ace” Ntsoelengoe of the Kicks play.

NASL Fanatic: Tell us a bit about your playing career?

Chris: I started playing soccer when I was 5 years old.  I played goalkeeper for the most of my career.  It wasn’t until my last couple years of playing did I play a position other than goal regularly.  From 1984 to 1988, I was a goalkeeper on the Minnesota State Select Team (now known as Olympic Development Program).  My State Select coach for a couple years was Alan Merrick (former Kicks defender and head coach of the MISL Minnesota Strikers) and a teammate was Amos Magee (former Minnesota Thunder coach, now coaching with the Portland Timbers).
I spent about two weeks in 1987 playing in northern England with my youth team, Northwest Soccer Club, against English school teams.  It is my favorite soccer-related trip ever.
I spent one year playing for Craig Lange on the University of Minnesota Men’s Club team.  It was with that team, on our first road trip of the season to Des Moines, that I had my first taste of playing somewhere other than goal.  Coach called me to the front of the van, looked at me and said, “Ever play forward?”.  I said, “No, I haven’t”.  He responded with, “Well, start thinking about it because you are starting up front tonight.”  Needless to say, I was beyond nervous (and lost on the field) that first game.  My year playing college ball was one of my favorite seasons.

NASL Fanatic: And you’ve done a bit of coaching, correct?

Chris: I haven’t been very involved in coaching.  I coached a U-17 girls team in 1997.  We played locally and did travel to Muscatine, Iowa and Seattle to play in the College Showcase and Seattle Cup, respectively.  I did coach one of my son’s Fall Rec teams for a couple years.  I prefer working with players individually on skills they need improve on.

NASL Fanatic: You have had a lot of experience as a referee, correct?

Chris:  Yes, I started refereeing when I was 15.  When I was 20, I became an NCAA referee.  I will be entering my 19th season of college refereeing this Fall.  I have been an assistant referee for numerous NCAA playoff games.  The highlight of my refereeing career is, by far, the weekend I spent as a referee crew with my father and brother in Winona, Minnesota many years ago.  I really appreciate what the college students go through in a season.  Playing, practicing and traveling all while keeping their studies up.

Thanks, Chris.  We’ll have part 2 of this interview in a few days.

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