Gary Hamilton started his career at Middlesbrough Football Club as an apprentice and made his first team debut at 17yo. He would play over 270 games for Middlesbrough but his career was cut short due to injury. He was recognized by the fans as the best player during the time period 1966-86 and honored with his name on a brick in the Riverside Stadium Brick Road.
Soccer Banter: When and why did you move to the United States?
Gary Hamilton: I retired from Middlesbrough FC with knee problems after 10 years and the time I was working with the Boro Academy. I thought coaching would be the way to go so I figured I could learn over here in the States. I came over 1992 and I have been here since.
SB: What is your current involvement with soccer in the US?
GH: I currently run my own club, Houston Dynamo Juniors & Academy in McAllen Texas. We are affiliated with Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer. I’m also the Head Coach head of the new PDL team RGV Grandes and work as head coach with Region III staff.
SB: What are your thoughts on youth soccer in the states?
GH: It's definitely heading in the right direction. In the states, we have so many more athletic kids, which give them a slightly upper hand. Now we just need to teach them the tactical side of the game and we will have as close to the finished article as we can get.
SB: What advice would you give a young kid that wants to become a professional soccer player?
GH: Work hard and take the knock backs as they come because there will be a few. Keep your feet on the ground, even if you make it as a young one, there is ALWAYS somewhere better than you not too far from you
SB: Which club in the UK do you support as a fan today?
GH: Middlesbrough FC & Manchester United
SB: Who was the best player you ever played with and why?
GH: I was very fortunate to play with many good players, but I would have to say Goalkeeper Stephen Pears. I think he was the best goalkeeper to never get a cap for England,
SB: Who was the best player you played against and why?
GH: Wow this is a hard one, I could say them all :) but it has to be Bryan Robson. He was very hard to control as he was all over the place and he achieved so much with Manchester United.
SB: Who is the best manager/coach you ever played for and why?
GH: Malcolm Allison he was way beyond his time in the 80's with his coaching style of, ‘if you don't try it you never really know if you can do it.’ This approach gave so much confidence to you as a player and was very unusual for that period. I also have to say Bruce Rioch as I think he made me the man I am today and I will be grateful to him for that for the rest of my life.
SB: What is your favorite memory during your playing career?
GH: Playing in the Boro 1986 - 90 teams as it was a fantastic time at the club even though we nearly went under. We had players like Pears, Parkinson, Pallister, Mowbray, Cooper, Ripley, Slaven, Glover, Kernahan, Kerr and it was a joy to play in the same team as all the guys.
SB: You are a Middlesbrough legend, have you ever thought about returning to the Northeast to coach/manage the club? Would you, if the opportunity arose?
GH: It is a great honor to my family and I that I'm remembered so highly and yes I just applied for the current job when it came up. I heard I was in the top 10 for the job and now if it meant working with Mowbray then I would go back.
SB: What is the biggest regret of your playing career?
GH: My biggest regret would be not saving money or buying property, which are things you don’t think about at the time. I always thought I was a very dedicated player, but now I think I could have been a lot better, with even more hard work.