Thirty-two years ago, a young goalkeeper named Daryl Shore arrived on the campus of Birmingham-Southern College as a freshman from far beyond the borders of Alabama.
Shore didn’t know it back then, but he was about to embark on a journey that would lead him well past the boundaries of small-school, NAIA soccer. Shore, now Forward Madison’s Head Coach & Technical Director, has had a professional career that has spanned decades, both as a coach and as a player. Ultimately, though, he has always returned home to Birmingham-Southern.
Even now, as Forward Madison winds down its week-long preseason camp at Shore’s alma mater, he continues to reminisce on the recollections of a soccer education that launched his career.
“You look around, this is a special place,” Shore said. “I’ve got a lot of great memories.”
Daryl Shore chats with former teammate and current Birmingham-Southern head coach Greg Vinson during a Flamingos' training session this week. | Photo by Jason Klein
Growing up, Daryl Shore never stayed in the same place for too long. His father coached basketball, which meant his family often moved from one city to another.
“I went to four different high schools,” Shore said. “Because my dad was a basketball coach, we moved around a lot. What I loved about here was it was a small, intimate campus, and the team was like a family. I felt like I needed a family atmosphere.”
Still, integrating into that atmosphere didn’t come without its own challenges. Shore redshirted his freshman year, meaning he was only participating in the team’s practices. Birmingham-Southern was considered a commuter school according to Shore, and most of his teammates came from the same surrounding area.
“All the guys would go home on the weekends and I would stay on campus by myself,” Shore said. “I didn’t have a phone in my room my freshman year, so I had to use the payphone in the hallway of my dorm. A lot of time people would yell down to me that my parents were on the phone - they had the number to the payphone - or I would call my parents’ collect [call] and they would call me back.
“You grew up quick with not having your immediate family close by.”
Fortunately for Shore, other players on the soccer team stepped in to offer him company. Some of his teammates let him come home with them on weekends, and before long, Shore found himself a part of the family he had wished for.
As his seniority increased over the next several years, Shore would repay the debt by befriending younger teammates. One of them was Greg Vinson, who arrived during Shore’s junior year as a backup goalkeeper. Vinson, who is now the head coach at Birmingham-Southern, said Shore’s leadership qualities were evident early on.
“His dad was a basketball coach, so you could tell from day one that Daryl had coaching in his blood,” Vinson said. “That was obvious. It was the way he came across, you could tell he was the kind of guy who was extremely knowledgeable but always learning and always striving to be the most knowledgeable person on the field.”
Shore excelled between the posts for the Panthers, twice earning NAIA All-American honors and captaining the team twice. Despite being shorter than most typical goalkeepers, Shore made up for it with pure ability.
“He was extremely athletic,” Vinson remembered. “There wasn’t a single ball that he wasn’t able to get to.”
Shore (fourth from left, middle row) said he found stability during his five years at Birmingham-Southern College.
Following his final season at Birmingham-Southern in 1992, Shore stuck around, becoming an assistant coach for the school at just 23 years old. Vinson, who replaced Shore as both starting goalkeeper and team captain, remembers their training sessions together well.
“He was a great coach,” Vinson said. “Being that young, that’s when you can still coach and get out on the field as well. You’re still really in your prime, so it was a great situation where you’re not just learning from someone's words, but you’re out there with them.”
At the same time, Shore was also embarking on his post-collegiate journey. While not coaching at Birmingham-Southern, he worked as the goalkeeper and general manager for the Birmingham Grasshoppers, a newly-formed team in the United States Interregional Soccer League - the USISL, which was the precursor to the modern USL.
As a coach, a player and an executive all at once, Shore formed skills that would eventually lead him to be a goalkeeping coach for more than a decade in Major League Soccer and a head coach for four lower-division teams, including Forward Madison.
While Shore would only stay in Birmingham for one more year after graduation, he never stayed far removed from his alma mater. In 1998, Birmingham-Southern bestowed upon Shore an honor that he still counts among his most prestigious distinctions.
“My best memory (at Birmingham-Southern) came after I was a player, when I got the phone call in 1998 that I was going to be inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame,” Shore said. “I thought that was a pretty cool achievement. To be a kid who was undersized and told that he would never make it as a soccer player, to have the career that I had and be inducted into your school’s Hall of Fame, it was pretty special.”
Shore's plaque hangs in Birmingham-Southern College's athletic Hall of Fame.
Even as Shore moved up to higher levels of soccer, he continued to come back to Birmingham.
Vinson was Birmingham-Southern’s assistant coach in 2002 when Shore took the Chicago Fire (with whom he was the goalkeeping coach) to his former school for several days of preseason training. The stint even included a game between the Major League Soccer team and Vinson’s Birmingham-Southern squad.
“He’s always remembered this place, and that’s what makes it really special,” Vinson said. “As far as he’s gone and the levels that he’s coached in, he still calls this place home.”
This year, the story reads in a similar vein. Forward Madison arrived at Birmingham-Southern on Feb. 16, and will stay through Feb. 24 before continuing its preseason in Louisville. The Flamingos have shared a locker room and a soccer field with Vinson’s Panthers, and Shore made a point to deliver gifts to some of the cafeteria workers he remembered from his days as a student.
“It’s a great facility for a Division III school, they’ve got some of the best facilities in the country soccer-wise,” Shore said. “I thought it was a great opportunity to bring the guys down here and they’ve been very accommodating. It’s always nice to come down here and get some good sweet tea.”
Season tickets for Forward Madison FC’s 2020 season are now available! Get yours by calling 608-204-0855 or visit https://www.forwardmadisonfc.com/season-tickets.