(NOTE: Reprinted courtesy of the Daily Telegram and Sports Writer Kristopher Lodes) Telegram Story Link
Sometimes things seem to fall into place.
Just being in the right place at the right time can change a person's life completely.
For Thomas Goodman, he always seems to be in the right place.
"There is a book called 'Outliers' by Malcolm Gladwell that talks about the 10,000-hour rule," Goodman said. "If you do 10,000 hours at something, you can become good at anything, and he also talks about being at the right place at the right time. Like how Steve Jobs happened to be at the place where they had the first computer and went to school there, and that's how he got into computers early on."
While Goodman isn't becoming the founder of Apple Inc., he is leading the new eSports program at Siena Heights University, is the head coach of the Tecumseh girls varsity soccer team, getting his Ph.D. at Concordia-Portland all while spending time with his wife Amber, son Amsel, 13, and daughter Lenicka, 7.
Finding a balance
Goodman has been a busy man his entire life, having been an Olympic-caliber mountain biker, a professional soccer player in England and also a world-ranked gamer.
"You just got to budget your time," Goodman said. "If I was working a factory job and afterward coached at Tecumseh, it would be the same thing. It's just balancing that. I enjoy to do (eSports and coaching), and I make my time for it. The doctorate is a bit harder to juggling, but at the same time, I like juggling. I can handle it right now."
Helping Goodman handle his responsibilities is his wife. It can be tough for anyone to keep track of a busy schedule like Goodman's, but she does it while also working full time herself as an administrative assistant at Saint Joseph Mercy in Ann Arbor and also getting her MBA.
"We're pretty independent," Amber Goodman said. "I have my schedule and my work, and I'm getting into an MBA program. We just figure out who is doing what and go from there."
The two met at the University of Oregon, where Thomas Goodman was working on his bachelor's degree.
By this point, his athletic career had already come to a close, and he decided he needed to go back to school.
In the 1990s, Thomas Goodman traveled to England to compete in mountain bike riding, but also to play soccer.
"With soccer, I just happened to be on the right field at the right time," he said. "I'm sure I made a great pass or shot at the right time and the scout was there."
Thomas Goodman went to the Arsenal Academy and was later sold to Torquay United Football Club of the National League South.
"I played in some pretty big matches over there," Thomas Goodman said.
At the same time, he was balancing a separate career in mountain biking. Again, he was at the right place at the right time.
"I was joking around with some friends that we should race cross country on our mountain bikes," he said. "I actually won the race, and a British coach for the Olympic team was there, and I beat his bikers. I'm not British, but he knew the Canadian coach, and he called him up and he called me up and asked if I wanted to do the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
"I started doing the World Cup circuit and was riding all over England."
Unfortunately for Thomas Goodman, he wouldn't make it long enough to compete in 2004.
He was in a downhill race in Plymouth, England, one he had won in the previous season.
"I broke the hydraulic line, and I didn't know," Thomas Goodman said. "There was a speed trap, and if you do the fastest time, they take off like two-tenths of a second, so I was pedaling as fast as I could, and at the bottom there is a 50-degree turn."
It was at that turn his athletic career came to an end.
"I hit both brakes like I was supposed to, and I had all front and no back brakes," he said. "It flipped me over the safety barrier and wrapped my body around a tree. I kicked my head. I had to have pins in my leg, and I still don't have my ACLs. National Health Service deem what services you get and fixing your ACLs wasn't a thing. They were more worried about being able to walk with my liver damage, and I broke all of my ribs. I had no spinal injury, which was a miracle. Plymouth has a Navy base and has one of the best hospitals. Had that happened anywhere else, I probably would've died."
Thomas Goodman remained with Torquay and finished the coaching program, and while he was healing in the hospital, he learned to code. In 2001, he left for Oregon and worked at the university's help desk, before enrolling into classes in 2009.
In 2013, he got his bachelor's degree in education and later got his masters with Ohio University online, while getting his first high school coaching job at Willamette High School in Oregon.
Part of his masters program sent him to Athens, Ohio, to complete a residency. There he met Andrew Olnhausen, who started FCA Soccer Club in Adrian, and was offered the role of assistant director of coaching.
He traveled with Olnhausen to Adrian from Athens and knew it was the place for his family.
"I saw what he was doing, and I bought a house in Adrian that was condemned," Thomas Goodman said. "I called my wife and told my wife I bought a house in Michigan."
Lucky for Thomas, his wife Amber is an easygoing person.
So when she got the call that the family was moving from Oregon, where she is from, to Michigan, she took it well.
"He tells me, 'OK this is happening,' and I'm like, 'OK great, can you send me pictures?'" Amber Goodman said. "I'm just like, 'Whatever, we'll get it done with Mr. Gung-ho.'"
Getting the gig
Thomas Goodman got his first head coaching gig in Michigan as the head coach of the Onsted girl's soccer team and then made the move to the Tecumseh girls team.
He won the Lenawee County Coach of the Year award in 2017 with the Indians, and in 2018 he became the interim head coach for the Siena Heights men's soccer team after joining the staff as an assistant.
He nearly had the interim tagged removed, but instead the Saints went with Drew Crawford.
"I was told I was second in the interview process," Thomas Goodman said. "Drew is a great coach and was with the women's program for years and is an alumni of the men's program, so it's good for him."
It was during his time as the interim coach he caught wind of a new SHU program.
"I heard them talking about eSports and I was like, 'Wait, this is something I'm really interested in,'" he said. "I have a huge background in gaming. I was a Nintendo champion and was top 10 in Counter-Strike, and I'm doing my doctorate on the Millennial Z athlete."
The Saints have put in quite a bit of time and money into the new program, and Thomas Goodman's kids sure are sold on it.
"As soon I as they saw the arena, they both said, 'I want to go to Siena,'" Amber Goodman said.
It also helps Thomas Goodman spend more time with his kids, especially Amsel, who has autism and loves gaming.
"Thomas spends time with him gaming already, so this is a good transition for Amsel, as well," Amber Goodman said. "It's been positive."
The reactions from the new student-athletes have been positive, as well, for Siena Heights.
"The vision at SHU is amazing," Thomas Goodman said. "We are trying to get as many women as men in the program, and we already have six, which is by far the most, and we'll have the first all-women Overwatch team in the nation. It's exciting."