Ian Martin played professional indoor and outdoor soccer and coached at Butler University. (Photo from Butler’s Twitter Page)
By Michael Lewis
Ian Martin, a midfielder-forward who could play every position, including goalkeeper with the Rochester Flash, before entering a successful coaching career, has passed away.
He was 63.
Martin, who died on Wednesday, guided the Butler University men’s soccer team for seven seasons, as the Bulldogs reached the NCAA Division I tournament for the first time in program history in his first three years.
He recorded an 84-60-8 record.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Ian Martin,” Butler Athletics said on Twitter on Wednesday.
“RIP Ian ♥️🙏🏻 Thank you for everything that you did for me! You were one of a kind and I will truly miss you!” former pro goalkeeper David Winner wrote on Facebook.
“I met him when he was at Butler,” Jacob Perry wrote on FB. “Was very cool and welcoming.”
“Sorry to see that Ian passed, too young,” Charles Matalon wrote on FB. “I knew him from FIU soccer where he played with Greg Anderson, Herman Engles who coached my sons at K Land and Arvada. We became good friends thru his time coaching Barry University female soccer team.”
Born on Feb. 23, 1959, Martin was a graduate of Marshall High School, which was just down the street from Holleder Stadium, home of the Flash.
The forward-midfielder was a three-time All-City Catholic selection. He also played lacrosse. During the 1977 Section V boys lacrosse playoffs, Martin recorded a hat-trick, including the game-winning goal, and his brother Gordon a brace in a 6-5 win over Webster Thomas H.S.
After graduating from Florida International University, he was selected by the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the 1980 North American Soccer League draft. He scored twice in his first professional indoor game, a 12-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Dec. 19, 1980. He competed in five games in the 1980-81 indoor season, scoring five goals and assisting on nine others for 19 points.
Martin played with the Flash, who succeeded the Rochester Lancers in pro soccer in that Western New York City, in 1982 and for the Pennsylvania Stoners the next year.
The 5-10, 165-lb. Martin joined the Dallas Sidekicks, performing for that squad during the 1984-85 and 1985-86 Major Indoor Soccer League campaigns. He had a goal and two assists in 28 matches for Dallas. Martin registered his lone Dallas goal against the Los Angeles Lazers on March 22, 1985.
Martin demonstrated his versatility with the Flash as he played every position, including goalkeeper, during the 1982 ASL season.
In fact, Martin donned keeper’s gloves in an emergency situation, sparing Rochester from a potentially embarrassing situation in its 3-1 defeat at the Stoners in August 1982.
With the Flash trailing in the 17th minute, regular keeper Jim Perriello broke a leg. Since the Flash did take a backup goalkeeper on the trip, Martin was pressed into service.
“As soon as I stepped on the field, they shot, and it hit the post,” Martin told this writer for a story in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle on Aug. 15, 1982. “A minute later they came back down, shot and I made a save. If they waited 10 minutes to shoot, the nerves and everything would have gotten to me.”
The Stoners peppered 35 shots at the Rochester goal. Martin conceded twice but made 16 saves in 73 minutes. At the time, ASL goalkeeper averaged around five saves a match.
“They were shooting like crazy,” Martin said. “The first goal came off an offside trap one of our fullbacks was left hanging, so I was one-on-one with the player. On the second goal, the guy just bombed it on a corner kick.
“A couple of times I made saves that could have been goals. I played pretty well for just walking in there.”
(Martin, incidentally, did have his moments as an attacking player, scoring sixth goal of the ASL season in a 3-1 home win against the Nashville Diamonds that Aug. 27. What made it extra special to him was the fact he had about 30 relatives from Scotland attending the match).
Martin could thank his father Jim, who coached the Rochester Mavericks youth soccer team for 13 years, for preparing him to play in goal.
“I played him in goal because it made him an all-around player and made him respect what a goalkeeper has to do,” Jim Martin told the D&C.
Ian Martin embraced being versatile, especially learning each position as a young player.
“It was more beneficial for me not to play only one position,” he said. “I decided to try it. It gave me more flexibility. … I’m learning something else. I’m more valuable to the team. You need a resume nowadays. You can’t just say, ‘I can play left fullback.’ You have to say, ‘I can play here or there.’ ”
Or everywhere, for that matter.