With the start of the 2015 NASL season just around the corner, most players are getting their final preparations ready and are anxious, maybe nervous, about what lies ahead.
Despite these trepidations that occur every year, one journeyman knows that 2015 is his shot to prove that he’s still got his best game. Even though he will clock in at the age of 34 when the season begins, Daryl Sattler will not let his “seasoned” age get in his way.
“It’s not different,” Sattler said of the age gap. “Once you are on the field, it’s a competition. I am aware that first-team players might be ten years younger than me, I’m okay with that, but being previously in the league and playing this game so long provides me the knowledge and experience I will need.”
Those are the words of San Antonio starting goalkeeper Daryl Sattler, the Scorpions’ man between the pipes for the NASL’s start Saturday, March 14 against the Austin Aztex. Sattler has spent his time playing all over the south and at different levels of the US Soccer system, playing (and outlasting some) with the Nashville Metros (Premier Development League), Memphis Express (PDL), Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL), and FC Tampa Bay to name a few.
However, this year will be a remarriage with the San Antonio Scorpions, previously playing with them in 2012 and appearing in net 26 times. That year, Sattler collected the Golden Gloves for the best Goals Against Average during the regular season (0.79 GAA) and sat in net for 2,151 minutes, this after tearing his ACL in 2011.
It’s not the past that has helped Sattler, but his most recent club has pushed him back to his prime, as he spent 2014 with Jacksonville United of the National Premier Soccer League.
“The NPSL is a gateway for those that want to make it to the next level,” he added. “I have been through the NPSL so it’s helped me get to where I am today. The talent in the league is ever-present so it kept me fit and in shape to have an opportunity to again play in the NASL for the 2015 season.”
What especially drew the talented Western Kentucky alum to the NPSL and Jacksonville was the coaching. What sets aside the NPSL is that the league is littered with great talent on the field and in the coaching box.
“I’ve known the head coach and the staff for a long time, but any chance to play with a professional or semi-professional group is one you have to take. I greatly appreciated playing for Pat [Cannon].”
Pat Cannon is a Florida soccer star, as he played four times in the US Open Cup and was inducted to the University of West Florida Hall of Fame for his impeccable career with the Argonauts.
He certainly continued Jacksonville’s run of success, as the club finished second in the Sunshine Conference, and conceded just seven goals in the club’s ten matches. They qualified for the playoffs, but a 2-0 home loss to the Tampa Marauders ended their 2014 season.
Coaching has also been part of the reason Sattler stood out with his career with Jacksonville United. He took up the challenge of coaching in the youth system.
“I’m a footballer,” he exclaimed about his coaching career. “Coaching is part of that and I very much enjoy teaching the game. I actually had a great bond with the youth squads and it made me better as a player.”
Being the last defender and knowing that he has control of his teammates, Sattler’s style on the field has molded his coaching style.
“Every coach has their own style and mine is to be vocal, the reason for that is because I am passionate about the game. If I’m not playing the game, I’d like to be coaching it. I greatly enjoy the whole coaching aspect.”
He has also coached in the college ranks, assisting with the Jacksonville University men’s soccer program.
When asked the difference between coaching in the youth system and at the collegiate level, he simply replied “the NCAA rules” with a chuckle.
“Coaching guys that are hungry and that are coming out of high school, and that translates well playing with guys that are on average 24-years-old looking to make it by playing in leagues like the NPSL.”
Sattler is no stranger to playing in the American South, as the Memphis, Tennessee product has played all over the region and has personally seen the growth in the United States.
“I think in general, we see where the game is going. You never used to see it on television and now it’s on major networks. That alone and seeing it in our own communities, we have grown up enjoying it. You look into those places where the game is and see how popular it is, but now you see it everywhere. It’s massive.”
With that expansion of soccer, Sattler sees how the NPSL fits in.
“It’s a great league, it’s growing fast and people don’t realize how many players in that league are peaking or starting to peak with the structure of the league.”
As for the start of 2015, Sattler is in control of his reunion with San Antonio. But, if you ask him about his career, he is simple about his approach.
“For me, being on the football field is just joy.”