The Mellow Yellow team with their trophy. That's Rasoul on the back row, fifth from the left, next to the trophy. Courtesy of Sam Rasoul.

Sometimes we get so worked up over politics that it’s easy to forget that politicians are people, too, which brings us to this news: The Mellow Yellow team has won the championship of the VBR Star Soccer Club adult league.

Why is this noteworthy? Because Mellow Yellow’s goalie was one Del. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke.

Rasoul posted a photo on his Facebook page this week showing the team gathered around a gigantic trophy, with the comment: “They let an old man on the team.”

(Old is a relative term. He’s 40, a “geriatric millennial,” he says.)

This is not a story about Rasoul living out childhood dreams of starring in the Premier League. Instead, it’s about being a parent. “I didn’t grow up playing soccer,” he says. “I grew up playing football and basketball” – although he worked during high school so didn’t play for the teams at Lord Botetourt High School. (He did run track, though.)

Now, though, his children are part of the VBR Star Soccer Club, so he spends lots of time on the road as a travel soccer dad. It turns out that VBR also has a coed adult league, so Rasoul signed up for that, thinking it would be a good way both to share an experience with the kids – and to get in his cardio.

“It was my first time playing organized soccer,” he says. He envisioned himself running up and down the field. His team – the aforementioned Mellow Yellow – needed a goalie, though, so Rasoul taught himself the position.

The team advanced through the August-October schedule and made it to the championship against the Average Joes. Earlier the season, the Average Joes won 7-2, which made them the favorite in the championship. Instead, Rasoul’s Mellow Yellow team won 8-5. Or maybe 7-5. He’s not sure. “What I know is how many goals I let through,” he says.

Rasoul’s not sure that everyone in the league knew the goalie they were going up against was a state legislator (and one who was up for re-election). At least one did. At one point in the season when he made a save, someone on the other team shouted, good-naturedly: “We’re not going to vote for you.”

Rasoul was in attendance at this week’s Senate Finance Committee retreat in Roanoke and found time to talk to Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin. What important matters of state did they discuss? Umm, the highlight of the General Assembly session – the annual House vs. Senate basketball game that raises money for cancer research.  

Dwayne Yancey

Yancey is editor of Cardinal News. His opinions are his own. You can reach him at dwayne@cardinalnews.org.