When Adrian Heath was winning trophies as a striker with English club Everton in the 1980’s, he probably never expected to be celebrating a Father’s Day in suburban Minnesota. He might have expected to be joined by his son and grandson, but perhaps not as his son’s manager.
The Heath family will celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday much like any other would, though the circumstances will certainly make this one special. Adrian is Minnesota United’s manager, and his son Harrison is a midfielder on the team. They have been at the same club before, during Adrian’s time at the helm of Orlando City, but the two were reunited for the 2018 season. The timing could not have been better.
Harrison and his wife Kaylyn Kyle, a former Canadian soccer player, welcomed son Hayden into the world in early June. As is the norm for professional athletes, some schedule bending was required for Harrison to be there for the special moment.
The Loons played Sporting Kansas City on a Sunday and then faced FC Cincinnati in the US Open Cup the following Wednesday. Harrison was ready to fly to Ohio with the team when he got the news that his wife was going into labor. He made it back to Minnesota for the birth of Hayden, missing the match against Cincinnati—a small sacrifice for a huge milestone.
“It was a crazy couple of days,” recalls Harrison. “It’s still a bit of a surreal feeling, to be honest.”
United’s two week break fell at a perfect time for Harrison, but he is now back in training and preparing to play in the Loons’ next US Open Cup match on Monday. His new son is still at the forefront of his mind, though. “I’m super proud of my little man,” he says.
And now three generations of Heaths will come together on Sunday. “The Heaths just keep going,” laughs Harrison. Since soccer genes seem to run in the family, it’s far from unrealistic to say that Hayden could follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Adrian, Harrison, and Hayden—the past, the present, and the future—may span three generations, but all that matters to them is one special moment.