To say soccer runs through Dillon Powers‘ blood is almost an understatement.
The Orlando City midfielder and 2013 MLS Rookie of the Year had a strong connection with the sport from an early age growing up just outside of Dallas, Texas. But his ties to professional soccer in his youth wasn’t exactly the typical 11v11 outdoor soccer.
Dillon’s father, Mike Powers, was a professional soccer player for 22 years, playing most of those years indoors, with the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) and the Dallas Sidekicks. Powers Sr. made over 400 appearances with the long-tenured franchise, starting in 1986 and ending with his retirement in 2002.
Throughout his professional years as a player, Mike consistently brought his son Dillon along the way, allowing him to experience what being a professional athlete was like.
“Watching my dad do it and be a top professional was obviously the first step in me taking that on, just like any kid,” Dillon Powers said of his father. “He was also my youth coach as well. We were a soccer family so it was kind of a natural first step for me.”
From 1984-2013, Mike was the Director of Coaching for Andromeda FC, a soccer academy out of Plano, Texas, where Dillon got his start. Growing up constantly being around the game, both indoor and outdoor, was something that Dillon says helped shape his approach to being a professional athlete.
“It was a great experience,” Powers said, “Looking back, I was just totally immersed in it, it was kind of all that I knew and it was a big part of our lives. Obviously, we went to all the games, I would be brought into the locker room here and there and I really grew up with this soccer-centric lifestyle because of it.”
After his playing days were over, Mike Powers continued coaching at the youth level and even became an assistant for the Sidekicks from 2002-2004 and then again from 2012 to 2017. His #5 jersey was retired by Dallas in 2002 after his 15 years with the club and he was inducted into the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame back in 2013, where he was born and raised.
Dillon says his dad still occasionally head out to games from time to time and will play in legend matches they hold every year, but the 61-year-old still continues to coach at the youth level with Solar Soccer Club out in Dallas.
Maintaining that connection with a high level of soccer has been a point of bonding for both Powers’. As Dillon’s career progressed to a higher level, going from Notre Dame to the Colorado Rapids in 2013, his father was there with advice every step of the way.
“Soccer players, professional athletes, they go through a lot of different ups and downs in their career,” Dillon said, “He’s (Mike) always had stuff to offer and he continues to this day. I think we’ve grown in our relationship just being able to talk about some of the struggles and how to deal with it and he’s always had an incredible mentality as a pro. I think that it’s been really inspiring for me and I always kind of carry that with me because of the example he set.”
Now for the 28-year-old Powers, his mind is focused on breaking into the Orlando City lineup as the brunt of the season hits the Lions, but as the trials and tribulations of professional life continue, he’ll always have the lessons his father instilled in him to guide him along the way.
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