A former Major League Soccer player mingled with groups of young Aberdeen area players hoping to make a name for themselves on a soccer team roster.
Chris Houser was drafted by the Tampa Bay Mutiny in the second round in 1998 and played for the Florida team until June 2002. The only South Dakotan to play soccer at the major league level, he was inducted into the South Dakota Soccer Hall of Fame in 2007.
Houser attended the Hub City Soccer Club's competitive team tryouts at Golden Eagles Arena on Monday night. Houser, 38, will be in Aberdeen until Thursday offering soccer advice to coaches and players and an old friend of his from Sioux Falls, Steve Cogley.
The two athletes grew up playing soccer in Sioux Falls. Houser attended Sioux Falls Washington and Cogley went to Sioux Falls O'Gorman. Cogley is currently the director for the Hub City Soccer Club and director of coaching for South Dakota Soccer. Cogley was in charge of directing the tryouts for under 10 to under 19 players.
I hadn't seen Steve for 20 years, said Houser. I was surfing the internet and saw that Steve was in charge of soccer so I reached out to him. We played together in Sioux Falls. He's a good guy with tons of energy. Aberdeen should be happy about having somebody like Steve involved in soccer.
A multi-sport athlete, Houser played basketball for the Warriors. I like all sports, said Houser, who is 6-feet 4-inches tall. I got in foul trouble in basketball. I was very aggressive and very physical and talkative. I love soccer because I get to push and be aggressive. At that time in South Dakota, there wasn't a whole lot of soccer offered.
Houser played in Germany and Belgium before attending Southern Connecticut State University for three years. His college team won the NCAA II soccer title in 1995. Houser also played in the U.S. Open Cup and the World University Games.
Houser currently lives in Phoenix, Ariz., and runs his own sports and marketing company.
I work with people in smaller towns and organizations who have a large interest in soccer, he said. I'm working on identifying players and helping coaches find players. My biggest focus is doing camps like today where Aberdeen kids can work out and work with pro athletes.
Houser has a busy schedule. After a four-day stint in Aberdeen, he will return to Sioux Falls and then back to Arizona.
There's a tournament out there and we're expecting 400 men's league teams, he said. We're putting together a team of over 30 guys from when I played.