Family man: How support from family has shaped David Ousted on and off the field
VANCOUVER, BC – In David Ousted’s words, “there are some things in life that are bigger than soccer.” And for Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s starting goalkeeper, family is at the top of the list.
The 29-year-old Denmark native proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Maria, on New Year’s Eve while on a vacation in Barbados with their now 20-month-old daughter, Noelle.
“Luckily, she said yes,” Ousted told whitecaps.com.
Getting to know your 'Caps: David Ousted
And now, Ousted and his fiancée are set to welcome two new little Ousteds into the world – Maria is expected to give birth to twin boys in anywhere between two to six weeks.
Already being a father, Ousted is excited for what lies ahead – even if it means he’ll have a little less free time on his hands.
“I’ll probably come into training a little tired once and a while and have a little bit of a nap on the couch, but it’s going to be a real positive thing,” said Ousted, adding that his fiancée has already vetoed a few of his name suggestions. “There’s no doubt about that.”
At this point, Ousted isn’t sure whether he’s going to miss a match for the birth of his twin boys. He said he “doesn’t want to let the team down,” but he knows family comes first.
That’s always been the way Ousted looked at life, but he was reminded as much when his mother passed away from what was believed to be a form of lung cancer over six years ago.
And the importance of family was hammered home even further when he became a father 20 months ago. Ousted said the birth of his first child helped his maturation as both a person and player.
“I’ve always been a really ambitious guy and I still am, but I think it calmed me down when we had Noelle,” he said. “I love being a father. It makes me enjoy my soccer even more. My family supports me and I just love coming home to them.”
That support is part of what gives Ousted the right mental makeup to thrive in his position. No matter what happens on the field, Ousted said “seeing his little girl in the stands” is something that brings him the biggest joy of life.
For goalkeepers, the mental aspect of the game is probably more important than it is for any other position. Take Vancouver’s final game of the preseason, for example, when Ousted fumbled a Will Johnson free kick from 25 yards and it ended up in the back of his net.
“If a midfielder loses a pass or makes a mistake, it’s normally fixable,” Ousted said. “If a goalkeeper does that, normally it’s a goal. It’s something you live with. I don’t like making mistakes and I don’t like letting the team down, but I always bounce back.”
He’s certainly done that through four weeks of the 2014 Major League Soccer season.
The 6-foot-4 goalkeeper has conceded just three goals in four matches and was last week’s MLS Save of the Week winner, but he said “there’s still more to come.”
And he knew there was more to come after last season as well – his first in MLS. After joining the ‘Caps midway through the season, the former Danish Superliga goalkeeper recorded a team-high four clean sheets in 13 appearances.
But it took him longer than expected to adjust to some of the challenges of MLS, such as the travel, style of play, and different venues.
“You can play in Vancouver one day and it was 15 degrees, and the next day you’re in Dallas and it’s 36,” he said. “Coming in, I thought it would take me a couple weeks to get used to the league … that might have been a little bit naïve on my part.”
The fact that Ousted knew he had more to give made him as motivated as ever heading into the offseason. That’s why he stayed behind in Vancouver for about a month and a half to work with Whitecaps FC head of sports medicine and science Rick Celebrini and goalkeeper coach Marius Rovde on both the physical and technical aspects of the position.
“I didn’t feel I needed to prove anybody wrong or prove anything,” he said. “I needed to do it for my own sake and the team’s sake.”
In addition to daily sessions with Celebrini, Ousted also spent three or four days a week with assistant coach Gordon Forrest and some of the club’s younger players.
In some of those sessions, Forrest had Ousted as an outfield player to help him get more accustomed to having the ball at his feet – something that has become even more important with Carl Robinson’s attacking, possession-based style.
“There’s always something to get better at,” he said. “Another thing is commanding my box, getting out and helping the guys deal with crosses. I’m happy with where I am, but I realize there’s still work to be done.”
And with twins on the way, there’s a lot more work coming at home, too.
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