Golden beaches and waves crashing on the shore normally spring to mind when picturing what an offseason looks like for a soccer player.
For Ethan White, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The forward-thinking NYCFC defender, who signed a new contract with the club this week, is kicking off his winter on an internship in the city, taking his passion for photography to the next level.
At the age of 25, Ethan hopes that the best years of his soccer career are still to come, but he is already thinking ahead to the path he’d like to follow after he’s hung up his boots.
It’s a hobby which the defender picked up as a teenager in high school back in Maryland where White and his friends would shoot each other’s sneakers with their parents’ cameras and it's proved to be a seed for a flourishing passion.
Ethan told NYCFC.com: “You know - you’ve got to make your sneakers look good!
“Growing up, it became a fun thing for us to use these old cameras and then it kind of turned into that we were ‘the guys who took cool pictures’ - then it became a hobby of its own.
“The photography department at the Players’ Tribune offer internships to athletes looking to explore the other side of the business, so I had to go for it. I figured I could use this time in the offseason to do something productive and explore other possible talents outside of soccer.
“Hopefully the end of my soccer career isn’t too close around the corner as I’d love to keep playing for years to come but I would love for this to be my calling after soccer.
“As an athlete, you want to be involved with sports for the rest of your life so this would be a good way to stay close and to be involved in some way and have some creativity in my life.”
Ethan will spend the next six weeks at the Players’ Tribune on W 26th St but is still doing “double duties”, working out every morning before heading into the office with more than half an eye on his second season at NYCFC.
His last field work (through the lens) saw White descend upon the MetLife Stadium to shoot New York Giants’ 22-16 win over the Chicago Bears on November 20.
Braving the elements in East Rutherford and embarking on a different type of shoot was an eye-opener for White who is always looking for new opportunities to hone his craft.
He reflects: “It was a lot of fun – it was cold but it was different.
“There’s a lot of action – I’m used to shooting a lot of portraits and so trying to follow the game was difficult but I got some good shots and hopefully you guys will see them soon. It was fun, hopefully I can get some more games under my belt.
“I did the US Open earlier this year, then the Giants game – now hopefully my work will speak for itself so I can get to have more opportunities.”
Turning his attentions back to soccer - his primary focus for now - White is hoping that his second season at Yankee Stadium will grant him more opportunities to showcase his talents.
The 25-year old was selected by Patrick Vieira on 13 occasions in 2016 and is aiming for even greater involvement in year two.
Whether that’s as a central defender… or even as a goalkeeper, Ethan’s modus operandi is to help the team, however he can.
“I’m very excited for next season already – I think the club is headed in a great direction,” White said.
“As a club, we took major steps forward with Patrick leading us and to have a captain like David who has done so much in the game and kept us focused throughout.
“Obviously I want to play, I’d love to start every game but I’m always for the team and whatever the coach wants of me. If that’s at center back or even as goalkeeper, I don’t care – wherever I’m needed.
“Patrick was great for me – when you have a coach like Patrick leading you, you take whatever he says straight to heart.
“He knows what he’s talking about and what’s best for you as a player – he knows you well and he’s not disconnected from the game.
“He studies the game and loves the game and he’s very passionate about getting good results and will do whatever it takes - as a player, you can’t ask for any more than that.”
Finally, Ethan had a word for the supporters who never stopped singing throughout the painful Playoffs defeat to Toronto.
He added: “It means to much to us – with the club being so young, it would be easy for fans to disconnect after disappointing results but the way our people stuck around after the Toronto game to show their appreciation for the whole year was awesome.
“Hopefully it continues to grow – to have such passionate fans like this at such an early stage is an amazing thing.”