On days you feel busy, consider the life of John Diffley:
soccer player, assistant coach, and now - Dad.
Diffley, who splits nearly every weekday coaching at St. John's and training
and captaining the A-League's Staten Island Vipers (the area's best pro soccer
team), recently became a father for the first time. Wife Marcia gave birth to
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Jacqueline Rose on Aug. 30.
"It's been a lot harder on my wife than me," said Diffley, a 32-year-old
resident of Flushing. "I try to keep a balance."
Balance means not accompanying the Vipers on a road trip to Boston when his
wife was due to go into labor. Balance means making sure the practice schedules
of the Red Storm (he is a full-time member of the staff) and the Vipers (for
whom he is a defensive midfielder) don't conflict. Balance means finding the
time to rehabilitate a right knee injury that has kept him off the field
The Vipers, seeded third in the A-League's eight-team playoffs, finished the
regular season 19-9 for 82 points. They took two of three from their rival, the
Long Island Rough Riders, and beat the MetroStars, 3-2, in the U.S. Open Cup.
The Vipers' first-round playoff match was at "home" against the Richmond
Kickers last night at Mitchel Field in Uniondale. The Rough Riders played the
Pittsburgh Riverhounds to complete the doubleheader.
"I want to get back on the field and contribute," said Diffley, a former member
of MLS franchises in Kansas City and Tampa Bay, and the U.S. National Team.
Still, Diffley knows his future is in coaching. St. John's coach Dave Masur
said: "We share the responsibilites of the whole team. He's done a lot of
recruiting and educated all of us on fitness. He'll make a great head coach
St. John's Carlo Acquista said: "He doesn't just tell us, he shows us."
Diffley said the hardest part is "sitting in traffic on the way from St. John's
to Staten Island." He's experienced a lot in his soccer career, including
stints in places from New Jersey to Holland.
"Still," he said, "nothing I've seen or done can compare to seeing my little
girl being born."