The captain of the New York Yankees announced his impending retirement today after going through a tough 2013 season. Derek Jeter will be known as one of the greatest ambassadors of MLB and one the most recent examples of great loyalty to one team. The 2014 season will be his last, and it’s sure to be a farewell tour like the one Mariano Rivera enjoyed last year.
Before he became the living legend that he is today, however, he dabbled in other sports — including soccer.
In 2009 Jeter co-founded We Play. With his partners LeBron James and Peyton Manning, the organization set out to promote youth sports. As part of the promotional tour for We Play, Jeter released some of his pictures from youth sports including, his soccer picture. Jeter held an old school Brine ball with a stern look on his face and in need of a hair cut.
For soccer fans, it was nice to see Jeter promoting youth sports and emphasizing soccer, which has continuously seen growth in the number of youth players.
Jeter has continued to be a fan of soccer and, like many, was enamored with the U.S. Women’s National Team in the 2012 Olympics. During the gold medal run, Jeter made sure his teammates were watching, especially the semifinal match against Canada. He was supposed to take batting practice when the match was in its final moments, and asked the staff at Comerica Park in Detroit if the game could follow him. Perhaps he wanted it on the video board in left field.
Los Angeles Galaxy manager Bruce Arena says that Jeter is his favorite Yankee of all-time. He has an autographed copy of Sports Illustrated that features the shortstop from his rookie season. The autograph was faded last year when the coach talked about it, so he hoped to get a new signature. Arena says it is the only athlete autograph in his collection.
In soccer, many may compare Francesco Totti to Jeter as an example of loyalty to one team. It is just another of the many quality characteristics that have made Jeter a legend. Soccer fans will welcome his continued attention and promotion of the beautiful game.