Date: November 24, 2007
About: Eric Stratman - Class of 1989
The Soccer Ambassador
The Soccer Ambassador
It is almost as if soccer has consumed Eric Stratman.
Don't get him wrong. He still spends plenty of time with his family, but soccer was a sport he grew up playing, is still passionate about and wants to keep publicizing.
Stratman organized and started the Quincy Soccer Classic three years ago, and this past year's event attracted 27 high school boys teams from 11 states to Quincy. It couldn't have gone over better, he says, but he still hopes to top it next year. Stratman recently started a similar tournament for high school girls in Iowa, and he coordinates summer tournaments in Iowa as well.
He says he enjoys working with people and seeing past players come back to the area as coaches themselves. He's been called a promoter of Quincy because of the way he boasts the city to potential soccer teams considering playing in the tournament.
It's an easy sell, Stratman said. There's a lot to promote.
What do you do in your job?
I am a seventh grade physical education teacher at Quincy Junior High School and an assistant soccer coach at Quincy High School. In addition, I organize the Quincy Soccer Classic that features 28 teams from all over the nation.
What has been your biggest accomplishment?
Being a part of so many young adults' lives. In education and athletics, you get a great opportunity to be a very important part in so many lives of young people. There is more to kids today than what most people see. It's just too bad more people don't take the time to find this out.
Who has influenced you the most and why?
There have really been so many. My parents obviously played a major part in my upbringing. They made sure I toed the line. My coaches in high school, Matt Longo and Jerry Leggett, taught me that hard work and discipline are important and that nobody will just give it to you. It's amazing how my parents and coaches drove me nuts in high school, yet nearly 20 years later I have tuned into them. I just hope I can do it as well as they did.
What motivates you in your job?
I really enjoy being around the kids. There are so many neat things about kids these days. You just hope that they will listen to what you have to say. They need to understand that many of the things that they are doing, we did when we were kids. Like them, we had to find out the hard way.
What career advice would you give?
If you can find a job that you love to do, you will never work a day in your life.
What do you still hope to accomplish?
I hope to work with the community to find a way to fund a public soccer complex that will bring numerous events to Quincy and ultimately plenty of revenue to the community.
What was your first job?
Man, that was long time ago. I think it was as a bagger at Niemann Foods on 24th Street.
If you weren't a teacher/coach what would you be doing?
Probably something in sales. I enjoy meeting new people and talking with people.
Leisure time diversions and/or favorite stress buster?
I spend a lot of time on the computer. Just ask my wife and kids. I also live for St. Louis Cardinals baseball, though last year just added to my stress, I think.
What is the biggest need in your community?
There are too many to list. We need a lot of things, and none of that can be accomplished without working together. There really are just too many people with personal agendas right now and an unwillingness to compromise. Somewhere along the line, we have lost sight of what working together can do. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and do what is right and not what is on your personal agenda.
What is the ringtone on your cell phone?
Whatever is free and can get my attention.
Nominated by Chris Lawson, head soccer coach at Rockhurst Jesuit High School in Kansas City: "What stands out about Eric is that he epitomizes the two key terms for anyone seeking to be successful: passio' and commitment."