The talent in the Couture Community in terms of design and retail is apparent–hands down, we boast the best of the best designers and retailers in the world! What we like to focus on here at Couture Musings however, are the hidden talents in our community. So I was thrilled to discover that Michael Hezar, CEO and Designer at Michael John Jewelry is a passionate and avid soccer fan and player! In fact, if not for a college injury, the world of fine jewelry may have been bereft of his amazing designs, and the world of professional soccer would have taken him into the fold. We had a chance to sit down with Michael and ask him a little more about his passion for the sport and ultimately, the similarities between playing soccer and designer jewelry.
Couture: Tell me a little bit more about your own soccer history.
Michael: I was introduced to soccer at the age of 5, and I’ve been in love with the game ever since. As a little boy, I would run around my neighborhood and my house shooting, dribbling and juggling the ball. Although my parents would’ve preferred that I concentrate more on my education, I found myself on the soccer field for up to six hours a day after school and on the weekends. In high school, I set the highest record for the number of goals scored in one season, which has yet to be broken! Ultimately, my dedication paid off when I received a full, athletic scholarship to Penn State. Sadly, however, an injury prevented me from playing during college. Today, I play on an adult league and coach my sons’ teams.
Couture: What’s appealing to you about soccer? Why did you become so impassioned with this particular sport? I want to know what appeals to you about both playing and watching!
Michael: As a child, I was simply a natural. It made me feel happy and calm. As I grew older and learned the techniques, it felt like an art form and became one of my greatest passions. I knew I had the talent, and soon learned that I was able to control the game and navigate the team. I always had a vision for how each game was going to play out, similar to the way an artist has a vision for his/her work. Watching professional games inspired and encouraged me to try new techniques that would challenge my team and myself.
Couture: Did your sons naturally gravitate towards soccer or did you give them a nudge in that direction?
Michael: There was no nudge needed! As the game is a huge part of my life, it has been a part of their lives from an early age. Lucky for me, they developed a real interest for soccer. I have had the pleasure of coaching both of my sons on recreational teams and equipped them with the basic skills and knowledge of the game. My youngest son is a natural, just as I was. He is now only 6 years old playing on a 9-year-old club soccer team. My oldest son also plays on a club soccer team. With his discipline and hard work, he acquired the skills needed to be a great player. I am extremely proud of their talent and passion for the game.
Couture: What is the best part about being a soccer coach?
Michael: Working with kids is amazing! They are so innocent and pure and it’s so rewarding to see them develop their skills. I also love being able to see my vision of a game played out and executed on the field. The strategy is very much like playing chess, while the creativity is what makes it art.
Couture: Do you have any stories of rabid soccer parents? Come on, spill!
I’m sure there are many but I couldn’t tell you because when I coach the kids or play the game, I tend to block everything out.
Couture: What’s your favorite soccer team currently?
Michael: Barcelona – the team has so many unique and talented players.
Couture: Has Barcelona always been your favorite team or have you changed sides over the years?
Michael: Barcelona has been my favorite team since 1997. Their team is always so in-sync and uses impeccable techniques – I can watch their games for hours and trust me, I do!
Couture: What, if any, are the similarities between playing soccer and designer jewelry?
Michael: There are so many parallels between playing soccer and designing jewelry. As a soccer player I have to use my resources (the ball, my teammates and myself) to effectively and creatively maneuver the ball to ultimately score a goal, and as a designer I must use resources that will yield intricate and bold designs that my customers will cherish forever.
- Creativity: There are many ways to move a ball down a field or design a new piece or collection, but ultimately it always begins with a vision.
- Technique, Tricks & Execution: Study, Practice, Improve…I’m constantly trying to learn and integrate new tricks when I play or coach, it’s the same for designing. I seek new ways to design and innovate and while executing them, I learn new techniques.
- Hard-Work: One must always work hard to be successful, no matter the situation.
- Evolution: Soccer is ever evolving just like the jewelry industry has evolved significantly due to technology and the access to information and resources. I utilize new technological advances both on the field and on the bench.
- Know your opponent: If I’m defending I need to know if my opponent is a lefty or righty kicker, I must read my opponent, as a designer I need to know who the players are within the market and who’s making moves.
- Focus on Goals: Pun intended! Whether I score a goal or reach my goal of creating something my clients will desire, GOALS drive success.