The oldest player in Major League Soccer is relishing retirement, but before that he is schooling a new generation of players at Seattle Sounders, his first and, probably, last club
Arsene Wenger was once asked what he did in his spare time. "I watch football," the Arsenal manager replied. Ask Marcus Hahnemann what he does in his spare time and you'll get a longer, and much different, answer.
"Being a professional goalkeeper has never really defined me. It's always been other stuff. I've got so many different hobbies. I fly airplanes, I fly-fish, mountain bike all the time, I'm really looking forward to getting back on skis and snowboards," the Seattle Sounders player said.
"I've had so many other things that I've been interested in. [Sounders defender Leo Gonzalez,] he's always watching soccer. He'll grab his iPhone and he's watching games, and I'm like, 'you're nuts. What are you doing?' And he's like, 'I love soccer'. He loves it, he just wants to watch it. Different countries, anything, he watches it. I walk in a room, I see soccer on the TV and OK, I'm out. I'm going somewhere else.
"Maybe I have played a long time and seen lots of game film and been bored out of my mind watching stuff and maybe you get a little bit cynical. But I don't particularly want to go and watch games now. And then I have a day off and guess what's I'm doing? Going to my kids' games. So I'm sitting in the hotel and I want to think about something completely different than soccer."
The last time I met Hahnemann, in 2008, he was making dessert pies in a cooking contest and thinking about opening a pizza restaurant; a dream as yet unrealised.
"I have lots of ideas," he said. "I want to do a hard cider company as well. Think how popular it is in England. We don't have a lot of choices in America. And then we have Washington which is basically the capital for apples in the US. In Eastern Washington, I've got a cabin out there. And I'm thinking... Hmm, I don't know. We keep talking to a couple of people about doing it."
It is no great shock that his preferred post-game meal is not chicken and pasta. Asked what he misses about England, he said: "Indian food for sure. My king prawn vindaloo post-match. Definitely."
In the UK he sounded as distinctive as he looked, with his head hairless but for the arrow-shaped tuft pointing from his chin to his chest and his short-sleeved jerseys showing off arms as thick as barrels.
The sense that Hahnemann was a three-dimensional being amid cardboard cut-outs made him a popular interview for reporters in England, where interests that might seem typical in and around his native Seattle - hunting, mountain biking, a car collection, alternative rock, flying - looked exotic.
It was almost an afterthought that, selected for two World Cup squads and with a dozen years in England, Hahnemann is one of the most successful American players since the birth of MLS in 1996. You can't say "one of the most successful of his generation", since his career spans two: nineteen years and counting.
He moved to England from the Colorado Rapids in 1999, made over 300 league appearances for Fulham, Reading and Wolves and was at Everton in a reserve role in 2011-12. He rejoined Seattle as a back-up to Michael Gspurning last September, 20 months after he was last spotted between the posts in England during an FA Cup game between Wolves and Stoke City.
At Reading he was one of the elements in a golden era for American goalkeepers. Some weekends during the 2007-08 season, there were four starting in the Premier League: Hahnemann, Tim Howard, Brad Friedel and Kasey Keller.
Hahnemann was on the bench last Saturday as the Sounders began their 2013 MLS campaign with a 1-0 defeat by the Montreal Impact. He is also in the stands at CenturyLink Field in super-sized form as one of the faces on the "Decades of Dominance" tifo.
He was a Sounder from 1994-96, long before the city joined MLS. So the return of a local hero emits a nostalgic glow, but teams do not operate on sentiment and it was clear from Hahnemann's impressive performances in the pre-season Desert Diamond Cup tournament in Arizona, where we spoke, that he could be a useful asset this season if Gspurning is injured. And even if the Austrian is fit.
Hahnemann is developing his coaching skills. "What's great with the Sounders is that I can go talk to outfield guys and tell them some things that I think would help them. And they actually listen. Because my viewpoint is different than theirs," he said.
"And I'm seeing what I don't like them to do, so when they're bombing balls past me they're doing certain things and when I save stuff I'm like, 'if you would have done this I don't think I'd have had any chance'. And they really take it on board. We've got a great group of young kids here, guys who really want to learn."
MLS' oldest player will be 41 in June. Until the Sounders called he was facing the end of his career, but found the prospect more intriguing than alarming. He was unafraid to pop the bubble.
"I was hoping to take a year off and do nothing. And to see kind of what happened. It seemed like within weeks I came back with the Sounders, which was great. But [my family] hadn't made any decisions on what we were doing," he said.
"The only thing we decided was if we were going to live in our cabin with a town of 2,000 people which is a little bit difficult for schooling. And then the kids wanted to play soccer, that's all down the mountain. And then you'd be driving back and forth every day no matter how you do it. So we ended up, let's just move into our house. We kicked our renters out and that all worked pretty well.
"We'd already decided we'd live down in Bellevue [east of central Seattle] and then it was, do I want to fish every day, go skiing every day, or do I still want to play?"
He sees hanging up his boots not as a disaster to be delayed as long as possible, but an opportunity. "You're not 'retiring', you've just kind of stopped doing what you're doing. What else are you going to do? What's the next phase of your life?" he said.
"Maybe when you get to that age of retirement people are always kind of freaking out, 'what am I going to do?' Obviously there's money issues, identity issues. Who you are, what you are. But if you have other interests then you won't be bored, you've got tons of stuff to do."
Treating the sport like a job, not a drug? Like a part of real life, not an escape from it? And still proving it is possible to play at an elite level? Hahnemann is an accidental iconoclast, the strangest regular guy in soccer.