Imagine Robert Kraft suiting up for the New England Patriots, or Mark Cuban trotting out with the Dallas Mavericks.
That’s the scenario Juan Fiz plays out with Viejos Son Los Trapos FC.
Once a squad in a Minneapolis adult soccer league, Fiz brought VSLT FC into the NPSL before the 2017 season.
The first thing that is likely to strike you about VSLT FC is the name.
“It’s a saying we use in Argentina,” Fiz said. “It means that we are not too old to still play… the shirts/rags are old but the players are not. In the adult league, players said we were too old to play, but we won tournaments…we can still play.”
What went into Fiz’s decision to be a player-owner?
“I played well in training and preseason, and I wanted to see if I can add something to the team. If I ever think there are others who do better than me I don’t have a problem with sitting, but I really feel like I can still play.”
The 38-year-old already had experience playing within the NPSL, where he captained the Minnesota TwinStars in 2006-2007, and was on the 2008 TwinStars squad that reached the NPSL Final.
With the realties and responsibilities of owning a team however, Fiz will begin to focus on his ownership duties and step away from the game following the 2017 season.
“I know I have to focus on the future of the club. It’s going to be too hard (to play and take on ownership responsibilities.”
VSLT FC has been moving from a team with many players over thirty years old to one more associated with a youth movement. Fiz is focused on adding more young talent to the NPSL squad, and he has already done so this season. He is, however, committed to push the youth development model even further in the future.
“We are going to try to expand to develop players. From 16 on down, to help add to the team for the future in all divisions, and hopefully they will help the NPSL team.”
For North Conference Liaison Tim Sas, Juan Fiz’s playing career and new ownership venture is quite impressive.
“Juan is an impressive defender with incredible experience at all levels,” Sas said. “Juan founded the club had great success with the club in local tournaments, the NPSL was a natural progression for him.”
Though Fiz admits founding the club and taking the first steps have been difficult, the Argentina native is hopeful for what the future can hold for his team.
“It is about this family we have and to enjoy it. My object for now is to make the playoffs for now, we have a very humble club, but I am really enjoying it.”
Whether he is on the field as a player or off of it as an owner, Juan Fiz’s impact on the St. Paul soccer community is undeniable.
Photo Credit: Becky Olsen