Greg gave soccer his Harte and soul and is looking forward to the future

Greg gave soccer his Harte and soul and is looking forward to the future

Cobh Wanderers Martin Deady takes on Castleview's Greg Harte during the Keane cup final at Turners Cross last night.

“FAMILY is everything.” 

There was a time when sport was his life and not a whole lot else mattered. 

Known for his footballing talent which created his identity, Greg Harte after one nasty tackle soon found out there was more to life than football.

It wasn’t what he wanted to hear and six years later he still struggles with not being able to play the game he was obsessed with. 

But during that difficult time, he has learned that in life you always need a plan B. 

His family, in particular his wife Chloe have helped him through the grieving process and here he explains how one tackle changed his life.

“I thought I had my life planned out,” said Harte. 

"But one tackle changed all my plans and put me into the darkest place I’ve ever been.” 

The Gurranabraher man started out his career with Maymount at the age of eight before joining Castleview where he enjoyed a lot of success. 

Here he takes us on his football journey.

“I started out with Maymount but joined Castleview when Maymount folded. With Castleview we won countless trophies and we owe our success to Sean Long and Dan Murray who molded our team from a very young age playing in Division 1 at the time, into the National Cup winners.

“After Castleview I signed for Cork City and again I enjoyed a successful period there. 

"We won the U19 elite league and I won Player of the year as well as Top goal scorer. Making the transition from Castleview to City was made easier due to the standard of football that was played with Castleview.” 

Harte was always a stand out player most notibly for his excellent finishing. 

He represented Cork at every age growing up and was always destined for success. 

Chloe and Greg Harte
Chloe and Greg Harte

When finished school his next venture was the FAS soccer course which brought him to the attention of scouts in the States.

“The course was a FETAC Level 5 qualification in Sport and Recreation. 

"It was all about further developing ourselves as players while receiving coaching badges, on top of learning about the health and fitness industry where we received our ITEC qualification.

Former coach Niall O’Regan has this to say about the 26 year old.

“Greg was a player that every coach would want to work with, hard working, determined, focused,” said O’Regan. 

"His natural talent was being able to score goals, and not just inside the box but outside the box, he really was the most natural goal scorer I had the pleasure of working with, he would have the ability to change the game in any moment and having worked with him for a number of years he was an exceptional talent. 

"After moving to the USA prioritising education in the first instance, a reoccurring injury curtailed the success he was destined for, but he can be very proud of all he achieved and will always be one of the best players I had the pleasure to work with.” 

Harte takes up the story again.

“I was never one for school. I was never bad at it, but never agreed with me. That being said I earned the opportunity to go to California to train and go to college. 

"I received the scholarship so off I went for what resulted in a life changing period.

“In my first season I broke the State record for a freshman scoring nine goals (not a great season for me), but roughly half way through the season (October) I received the career ending injury, but my career didn't stop at that time. 

"I could still play on it once taped up, and coming from a GAA background I was used to taking hits and playing on so that's what I did. 

"It helped that the following week I cracked a rib sliding into the goal post so I completely forgot about my ankle. I came home for Christmas and went back out towards the end of January. 

"It was then the problems started showing up. I couldn't really put my leg down so we got an MRI to check the damage, and to keep it short there was a lot. 

"I had a lateral reconstruction of my right ankle on the 17th of Feb 2015 and that was that.

“I tried playing with Castleview when I returned home but I knew it was time to call it quits when I scored a goal and couldn't walk after kicking the ball. 

Youths top goal scorer Greg Harte receives his award from Roy Keane. 
Youths top goal scorer Greg Harte receives his award from Roy Keane. 

"The injury I ended up having is kind of hard to explain. I rolled my ankle inwards, but tore everything on the outside which resulted in the lateral reconstruction of my ankle. 

"My now wife, did come over for a few weeks in that November before I returned home and her making that jump not only cemented her as The One, but also saved my life. 

"The hardest part of training every day and your whole life revolving around a sport with that sport being your identity, was for sure the daily mental battle which to this day is still ongoing. 

"It's a constant battle that I win most days, but there are other days where a walk to clear the head is needed.

“I couldn't accept what happened, and just kept thinking "Why me?" until I met with a sports psychologist who herself tore her ACL two weeks before going to the Olympics. 

"I needed to snap out of the dark place I was in and she made me look forward to coming home to my Fiancée at the time and my family who were all excited for me to come home to start the healing process. 

"I tried everything from focusing only on work, drawing tattoos, 3D modelling, building desks, painting, pretty much every random thing I could to forget. 

"And not to sound like a four year old, computers and video games have been my escape. Just to be able to plug in, and disconnect was what I needed.

“Now, it's much easier as I own my own home, have a beautiful wife and baby boy Oscar, and a lunatic of a dog which makes the perfect family that I rely on every day to be okay. 

"I hope one day to return to the game in some capacity but for now I’m enjoying life with my family and learning to cope with not being able to play.” 

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