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Webster University men’s soccer associate coach, player reflect on family dynamic on and off the field
Marty Todt, associate men’s soccer coach, described two things in his life as “fleeting” — the soccer seasons and his nephew’s time at Webster.
His nephew Patrick McCaffrey is a senior forward on the men’s soccer team this year.
“I love every minute of it. It’s fleeting,” Todt said. “It goes by so quickly and to recognize how quickly it does go by, I think, adds something that’s special, because you try to grab a hold of every minute that you can.”
He said the three years McCaffrey has been at Webster and has played on the team have passed “in the blink of an eye.”
Both Todt and McCaffrey agree that their relationship rarely presents challenges on the field.
McCaffrey could only think of one challenge for him in having his uncle as the assistant coach.
“I don’t know what to call him sometimes,” McCaffrey said. “My whole life I’ve been calling him Uncle Marty. I definitely don’t want to say that during the game … that just feels different. I try to stray away from calling him anything (on the field).”
McCaffrey said calling Todt by his first name felt disrespectful, since Todt is his uncle.
McCaffrey has played soccer his entire life. His mom first signed him up when he was in kindergarten. When he was about 10 years old, his father entered his life and became his main influence to play competitively.
He said he had always thought about going to Webster. He went to Forest Park with the intention of taking two years to improve his grades and his soccer skills.
After one year, he said he was not getting as much play as he had hoped, and that he was not enjoying college. He said the fact that his uncle was at Webster influenced his decision to come to Webster. However, he did not learn much about the university’s soccer team from his uncle before attending.
McCaffrey said Todt did not discuss soccer at family events unless he was asked. Todt reserved family time for his family.
Todt said that over time, Webster University has developed into another family for him. And Todt says family is his first priority.
Todt said his son Jeff went to Webster in the 90s for two years. Todt said those two years his son spent on the soccer team also passed quickly. He said he enjoyed having his son on the team, but that it felt different than when he spent family time with his son. McCaffrey said he now feels the same way with his uncle.
“When it’s soccer, he’s my coach,” McCaffrey said. “When we’re at a family event, he’s my uncle.”
Todt said he had high expectations for his son and does for his nephew as well. But McCaffrey said he has never expected favoritism from his uncle, and he does not feel like his uncle expects more from him than any other senior player.
Todt said he wants closure for all of his players. That closure, Todt said, begins with a passion for the game. But, he said, players should prepare themselves each day for what’s ahead.
“If you do that each and every day you’re preparing for what’s ahead of you. You’re preparing for what’s in front of you. And if your preparation is the best that it can be, no matter whether you win or lose that game tomorrow, you left it all out on the field and there’s closure,” Todt said. “To see that being fulfilled is special.”
McCaffrey said that until working with Todt, he focused on the physical aspect of soccer and “went through the motions.” Todt explained to him how important the mental and emotional aspect of the game is to a player’s success.
“Like Marty always said, ‘leave it all out on the field,’” McCaffrey said. “If I know I’ve given my best throughout my life and even if whatever happens Wednesday, which could be my last game ever, if I put everything I’ve ever given to soccer, every hour, every minute and left it out on that field, then I can walk away from that game, a win or loss, happy.”
Todt said he wants closure for all of his players, but admitted it is different with McCaffrey.
“You want that for all your players but this is family,” Todt said. “The special time is being able to see him leave here with that closure knowing that he left it all out on the field, that he got a great education.”
The men’s soccer team will play Fontbonne University at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at Centene Stadium in Clayton for the SLIAC semifinals.