Followers of the Long Island Rough Riders in 2019 would see names like Matt Sloan, Manu Ferriol and Anthony Alfonso dominate the box score.
While those players headlined the group racking up tallies in the goal and assist columns, one player made his presence known by doing all of the things that don’t show up on the stat sheet.
Holding midfielder Tim Estermann did yeoman’s work on the field for Long Island, exclusive USL League Two affiliate of New York City FC, playing in all 14 games and logging a team-high 1,230 minutes. Estermann was the glue that melded the defense and offense together. He’d win possession that would spur an attack. He’d be the playable ball in the midfield as the Rough Riders played out of the back transitioning from defense to offense.
For these contributions and more, Tim Estermann is the Long Island Rough Riders 2019 Men’s Player of the Year.
“He was incredibly consistent and was the heartbeat of our team both with and without the ball,” head coach Stephen Roche said. “He has an incredible attitude and is a complete pleasure to work with. Any pro team would be getting a fantastic player and person.”
Typically a winger in college at James Madison University, Estermann was utilized in the middle of the field for the Rough Riders. The transition appeared seamless as the Swiss native thrived in the No. 6 role, appreciating the trust his coaches and teammates put in him to maintain such a vital position on the field.
His success and versatility this summer has given Estermann confidence going into his senior season with the Dukes.
“I love working for the team,” he said. “Even though it’s not that big on the stat sheet, I’m kind of the backbone of the team. I really take pride in it. Without this position being consistent and playing well I don’t think the team would have been able to be successful.
“Even though I’m not important to the team point-wise, the success of the team keeps me going and motivates me. This summer was an extreme confidence booster for me.”
Estermann played the full 90 minutes in all but two matches as Long Island went 5-1-8 (23 points) to finish third in the Mid Atlantic Division. The Rough Riders finished the year on an 11-game unbeaten streak but fell shy of qualifying for the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Estermann said he models his game after Barcelona holding midfielder Sergio Busquets. He said when people talk about the LaLiga giants, Busquets’ name is seldom brought up—especially when the team features world-class attackers in Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann—but he deserves as much credit, if not more, for the club’s success.
And just like Busquets, that’s how Estermann plays his game. It’s not for the stats. It’s not for the plaudits. It’s for the team.
While he’s looking forward to kicking off his senior season at James Madison on Friday at Florida Atlantic University, Estermann is also looking ahead to next summer on Long Island.
“I had an incredibly great summer with an amazing team,” he said. “Even though the season was two months long we grew as a family very quickly and without that you can’t have success. We had a great group of players with a lot of potential. We had a lot of young players who are playing at a high level and it was an amazing time and a great experience.
“I’m always happy to come back.”
BY: Michael LoRé