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XI Questions: Keith Binns

03/10/2006, 7:34pm CST
By NATHAN LEAF

Madison Soccer Club and Madison United

Age: 73.
Hometown: Leeds, England. Has lived in Madison since 1955.
Profession: Accountant.
Playing experience: Leeds Nalgo, England, 1949; Crossgates Rovers, England, 1950-55; Milwaukee Bavarians, 1955; Madison Soccer Club 1956-70; Madison United 1970-present.
Coaching experience: South Side Rovers (MAYSA), 1966-72; Prairie United (MAYSA), 1973-80; Yahara United (MAYSA), 1990-95; Madison Memorial High School girls, 1974; Madison United Majors 1975-95 (state winners, National Amateur Cup 1988); Madison United women 1981-90 (five-time state champions, Wisconsin representatives National Amateur Cup 1990); founding member of Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association and Director of Development and Clinics 1976-78.
Favorite clubs: Leeds United, Halifax Town, Jamaica.

I. How was Madison United formed?

In 1970, the Madison Soccer Club had two teams (in the same league). We had to come up with two different names, so we had one team called Madison 56ers and one team called Madison United. They were the same club. But in 1974, playing in the same league, we started butting heads with each other. So we split. We thought, "We shouldn't be on the same club, there's too much rivalry." And that's how the Madison 56ers and Madison United came about. And we've been rivals ever since.

II. How did you decide to go with United rather than the 56ers?

I was playing with United because by the '70s, I was 40 years old and had stepped down to what was the second team. So the first team was called the 56ers and the second team was called United. So what happened was we recruited young guys (to play with United) and by 1974, United was the best team and 56ers were down. So they said "Let's take the best players from United and put them on the 56ers." And we said "No, no, let's do it the other way around. We have the best team." Well, we had a big storm meeting and we just decided it was best to just go our own separate ways. It was very disappointing to me. Because I founded that club and I didn't like to see it split down the middle like that. But that's just a part of the growth of soccer. Just about every team in town is a spin-off of something else.

III. What changes have you seen in U.S. soccer since moving here?

To play soccer, you have to start when you're 5 or 6 years old. You don't have to be coached. But you have to develop that love for the game. When the United States (first) went into the World Cup, some of those players were not great players because they started when they were 14. They didn't know the game. There are a lot of tricks in soccer and some of them are dirty. You learn how to handle yourself. But now, with the best players having gone and played in Europe, they can just completely compete at any level.

IV. How would you rate the soccer scene in Madison?

I would say the problem is there aren't that many really good (adult) teams that could play in Milwaukee in a major league. The problem is players drop out. We've got some really good, kids but if they don't make the high school team, or if they play in high school and don't make the college team ... they bail out. I see so many people quit playing soccer in their early 20s, and I'm so disappointed with that.

V. Do you see the President's Cup expanding? (Madison United hosts the annual indoor tournament, which is one of the largest in the Midwest)

Yeah. The problem right now is we've maxed-out the facilities. We have both places (BreakAway and Keva) all day, both days. We're only restricted by the facilities. I'd like to see the President's Cup double. I mean, we were full six weeks before the tournament.

VI. How long do think you'll keep playing?

This year will probably be my last year outdoors. The fields are getting bigger, you know. Last year, all I did was sub in on the over-40s at Reddan because those fields in the back are fairly small. All I am now is a relay man. I get the ball and trap it and distribute it. I'm not going to be taking anyone on.

VII. Did you expect to play this long?

No, I never did. I started playing adult soccer in England in 1949, you know. I never thought I'd be playing in 2006. I just hate to quit. I still score that occasional goal in indoors. I hope I can still play indoors.

VIII. What's the best goal you have ever seen?

I have a tape of the world's best goal. Amazingly, this goal was scored in the (North American Soccer League by New York Cosmos' Roberto Cabanas). The guy was running towards the goal and this cross came over and it was behind him. But he went up and it was like a reverse bicycle kick. He went up and hit it with his heel. And back-heeled it into the top corner of the net.

IX. Where's your favorite place to play in Madison?

I guess Keva is my favorite place to play right now. I like the ambiance. It's kind of auspicious there. And because United has three teams playing out there. I used to play at (University Bay). That was my favorite place. We used to go every Tuesday and Thursday.

X. What is your most memorable moment as a player?

(In the late 1950s) Madison United tied with the Milwaukee Sport Club, for the championship (of the state B league). So they had a playoff game to decide who went up (to the major division). It was a terrific game, back and forth. The lead changed hands and it was 3-3 at the end of 90 minutes. So we went into overtime ... as it was getting dark, I got the ball and I was about 30 yards out. I thought, "What the hell," you know? I took a shot and it went right in the top corner. They didn't even have time to kick off. That was it. That was the most memorable moment. I admit to this day that I didn't really take aim. I just let fly.

XI. Your all-time Madison-area starting XI?

Goalkeeper: Paul Gibson.
Defenders: Ian Barker, Danny Miller, Roberto Sella, Bud Williamson.
Midfielders: Ola Olsen, Loren Seagrave, Johnny Zafari, Dean Duerst.
Forwards: Amadou Diagne, Frank Schulerl.
Subs: Mark Terpening, Joe Parrinello.
Coach: Klaus Feller.

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