Every so often I will receive an email through my website that reminds me why I love the beautiful game so much. From the best players in the world down to grassroots football, the game brings so much happiness and joy to people. This is one such message I received recently from a guy called Bill, and I love the approach because hey – what have you got to lose?

“I’m writing to you as not only a coach of a local Los Angeles club soccer team, but as a longtime fan.

To attempt to make a long story short, I quickly became enamoured with Ajax after the 1995 season; by some grace of perfect timing, my father had traveled to Amsterdam for business that year (from our home in Massachusetts, U.S.) and returned with Ajax team gear for my brother and I. We’ve been fans of the club ever since, and by translation, the Dutch national team.

Because of the allure to those famed mid-90’s Ajax squads, I took a special interest in following the careers of a number of the players from those teams and of course yourself. 

As football became more easily to consume on television here in the U.S., I must admit, I watched more Wigan games than I think I ever normally would have because of you! 

Anyway, the reason I am writing you is an interesting one. I happened to be riding my bike on the Santa Monica beach path, and I could have sworn I saw you jogging past me. None too sure that I wasn’t just seeing things, I found your website and saw that you do spend time here in Los Angeles. 

After realizing this, I decided it’s at least worth a shot to see if the Mario Melchiot would have any interest in attending a practice for my club team, in whatever role you’d like or prefer. I coach a 2010 boys team (9-10 year olds) for the club Soccer Stars United and have been working with this group of players since they were about 6-7 years old. We currently practice in Culver City of Los Angeles, at an elementary school. They’re an incredible group of players, who love to play and learn, and would be ecstatic if they knew a former professional player graced us with their presence.  

I don’t want to take up any more of your time, but if you’d have any interest, I’d love to talk more. If it’s not doable, I know you’re a busy man so no worries!”

That was me who jogged past, and I love reading your message.

It actually reminded me of a day I will never forget, when my sister asked for the autograph of a player that I looked up to as a young boy. She was trying to get this for me, but she was rejected and never had the chance to bring an autograph home. When I heard what happened I vowed never to do that to any of my fans when I became successful.

So with that, I am definitely going to make an effort to stop by. 

Bill, I will see you soon my new friend! #mmlove