Photo by Josh Lane
We have learned from conversations with supporters that you want more content pieces that delve, even further, into the character of our coaches and players. You’ve asked to get to know these guys even better, so throughout 2020, we will release a series of long-form interviews with our players.
New Mexico United Head Coach and Technical Director Troy Lesesne has a philosophy when it comes to recruiting players. He starts with character. Obviously, he needs talented players to execute his vision and strategy, but according to his foundational ethos, “culture beats talent every day.”
Enter Goalkeeper, Cody Mizell. Mizell, one of the first six players announced for the inaugural roster, instantly endeared himself to fans with his energy, his positivity, and, yes, his skill between the sticks. In the grueling seven months that is the USL championship season, Mizell’s energy never seemed depleted, and his mood never seemed overtly affected by the results. Win, lose, or draw he always took time after the match to walk the warning track at The Lab, and interact with the supporters, shaking hands, signing autographs and taking selfies.
Photo by Josh Lane
In many ways, all you need to know about Cody you can learn from watching him on match days. He arrives early, always sharply dressed and always smiling. Before he begins his warmups, he turns to the stands and enthusiastically applauds the supporters. He’s made incredible saves, but his real impact on the match comes in the time between saves, when he’s high-fiving his teammates for a great play, or encouraging them after a mistake.
I had the distinct pleasure of spending a few hours with Cody, and my time with him certainly reinforced all of my match day observations, but also gave me a glimpse into the genesis of his unbelievable personality, the source of his energy, and the deep love he has for the game, the team, and the state of New Mexico.
I asked Defender Austin Yearwood for a quote about Cody, and what he said is the perfect introduction. It’s not only rooted in a few years spent as Cody’s teammate, but it’s far more succinct than anything I could put together.
Cody is the full example of living your life by the mantra of loving what you do and giving it your best every single day. He’s a maniac but he comes in with the best attitude, the most consistent attitude, every single day.
Photo by Josh Lane
Lukas Cash: Alright, so let’s start at the beginning. Georgia, football stronghold. Did you play any other sports?
Cody Mizell: Yeah, I grew up north of Atlanta, playing any and every sport I could.
LC: When did you decide that soccer was the one?
CM: Around middle school/early high school, I decided to stick with soccer.
LC: When did you decide on goalkeeper? Did you play other positions?
CM: Early on, everything. I was a big kid growing up, so I split some time in goal. I liked playing goalkeeper, so I was under 12 when I decided to go solo goalkeeper.
LC: What did you like about being a goalkeeper? I’ve coached my kids, U9’s before… no one ever wants to be the goalkeeper.
CM: I don’t know man. I liked the whole aspect of using every bit of athleticism I could, jumping, diving…just kind of being the crazy fella that I am, and applying it to the sport that I really love.
LC: One of the things that stands out about you, right out of the gate, is this positivity. It seems to be unshakable. Do you think you got that from your folks?
CM: Yeah, my mom’s probably the hardest working person I’ve ever known in my life. She’s the one to always go above and beyond and that, for sure, rubbed off on me. My parents were always up at the crack of dawn, 4:30, and that’s me too, now. I’m the first one up in the morning and I have a ball of energy right out of bed. When I’m up in the morning, I’m blasting tunes in the shower, and that’s me in a nutshell. I have my energy all day, every day.
Photo by Josh Lane
LC: Did you win any high school awards? You seem like Prom King.
CM: (laughs) I was on the homecoming court just about every year. I also won “Most Likely to Succeed” in a high school that has 4500 (students) total.
LC: You and our director of soccer operations, Brandon Morris met before United, when you had a little trip across the pond. What was that all about?
CM: I don’t remember how it came about. It was kind of a scouting thing where they handpicked a few players through a system. So we made a trip out to England and we got to train with West Ham United for a couple of weeks. And Mr. B More (Brandon Morris) was our player liaison, our point man. It was really cool though, a really cool experience. I was actually staying in “the digs”. (at stadium housing for West Ham players) It’s funny how soccer is so massive but at the end of the day it’s such a small world. I remember the first time when I came back from Iceland and was playing with Charlotte Independence, we went and played Louisville, and I see this guy, and I was like, “You know what…that’s freaking Brandon Morris.” He’s a legend man and now that we’re working together again it’s freaking awesome. He’s such a big part to any club in the world.
LC: The big college decision comes up, and here comes Clemson. What about Clemson drew you?
CM: I think the biggest appeal at Clemson was I knew the goalkeeper before me, who’s actually with the Philadelphia Union right now, Joe Bendik. I graduated high school a semester early, and he was transitioning out that year as I was transitioning in. I went in a semester early to college, and I wanted to play right away, and Clemson gave me the opportunity.
Photo by Juan Labreche
LC: What did you major in?
CM: Genetic…(pauses and laughs) kidding. I went in undecided, because I had no idea what I wanted to do post soccer and I didn’t want to make a decision where I said to myself “I want to do something easy” or “I just want to be a soccer player”. It wasn’t like that at all. I really didn’t know so I went to the route where when I was done playing soccer, I could do whatever I wanted. So, I started in Communications and as I was going through communications I realized I loved the health side of things, so I did my minor in health, and I emphasized my communication degree in health studies. I left school after my junior year, and signed professionally, and I only had about a semester left of school, so slowly, three years into my pro career, I finished my Clemson degree online.
LC: What would you have done if you hadn’t played soccer?
CM: I don’t know man. That’s a great question. I could have gone plenty of different ways. I’m a super competitive guy. I’m super passionate about what I do, in everything in life, so that’s a million-dollar question I guess. I wouldn’t have a clue. If it wasn’t something in sports, something competing somewhere, even if it’s in the corporate world.
LC: At what point did you know you had a legitimate shot at making the pro thing happen?
CM: It was always a goal of mine. I love soccer and soccer is my life. I think it was early on in high school where I was like “You know what? This is what I want to do.” I had some role models, who I watched, growing up in the Atlanta area. It’s kind of crazy to see, but all the guys from Atlanta…like Joe Bendik, Sean Johnson, Jimmy Maurer.
LC: You signed a couple contracts and from all of my research, you didn’t get a lot of field time. How did you keep your positivity up?
CM: My whole career, even coming up through college I was a starter…It was difficult transitioning to the pro level. I’m super confident in myself and it’s hard to go to clubs where there’s veteran goalkeepers ahead of you. It was hard being patient in the beginning. You learn going through it that you have to stick with things, and the biggest thing is learning from the veterans in front of you. I think my biggest year was my second year when I was with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, and I sat behind Matt Pickens. Legend. I still think he’s one of my biggest role models as a professional, just because the guy is the ultimate professional. He’s in every day, first guy in the door, he’s always taking care of his body. Hours before training he’s there, hours after training. He’s super smart in how prepares himself every single week, with what he does on a certain day to keep his body fresh for the matches on Saturdays, midweek, and so forth. You can just watch him and you know this guy knows what he’s doing. In my eyes, he’s a legend.
LC: So, you have those first couple of contracts and then you meet an interesting character who’s going to surface later. My understanding is you did a little bit of training with the Charlotte Independence before you headed out to Iceland and you met Troy. What are those early days like?
Photo Courtesy of Tampa Bay Rowdies, via Twitter
CM: So I come in off of 2014, with the Rowdies. Again, I was sitting behind Matt Pickens that season, and I was on a multi-year deal there, but I needed to go get some playing time somewhere. Get some experience as a young goalkeeper. I was only 21 years old thinking I should be starting, yet realizing I’m such a young player in general with such a long career ahead.
I had a pre-contract signed with a team in Finland, it was still being worked through with the board. I contacted them and asked if I could get a little training in before I left, because they don’t start until usually around May. Got in there (Charlottle), trained, met Troy Lesesne. A fantastic guy and Charlotte really looked after me. When I was there, my contract (in Finland) fell through with the board, so I was in limbo for a little bit, training with the Independence and during the last week of the transfer window, a club from Iceland got in contact with me, they were really interested, and we got that sorted. I got to train with the Independence for a good month or so before I left and went to Iceland.
LC: And then you make the best 11 over there? Right out of the gate?
CM: So I had a really, really good year. Club Fram is the winningest club in Iceland. They’ve won the most titles, super respected club and they play in the national team’s stadium. I had a really good year, a really good start in a club that was transitioning from Europa League a few years before. They were in a big transition of players, lot of guys coming up from the academy. It was a big year. They were really fighting with the young squad that they had to stay up in the first division. (I) played really well, and made multiple teams of the week, and at the end of the year, ended up making Best 11 for 2015.
LC: What’s Iceland like? From a geographic perspective, cultural perspective?
CM: Beautiful, man. I loved every second of being there. The country is so clean, so beautiful. There’s so much to do. The people are unbelievable. They all speak English, so if you pop in somewhere and they speak to you in Icelandic, you’re like “Sorry, I only speak English” and they are so kind about it, and they’ll speak to you in perfect English. I loved literally every second of it, and like I said, it was a big transition going from Tampa Bay Rowdies, sitting behind a legend of a goalkeeper, to going in for every minute of every game, through the 20+ games of an Icelandic season, keeping a team up in the first division. It was big man.
LC: That wraps up and then it’s time to come back stateside. What are those next couple of years like?
CM: I got offered a longer deal in Iceland, but my biggest goal was to come back to the United States, and play here. My wife, fiancée at the time, was still in school, so I wanted to come back to the States and was talking to a bunch of different clubs and Charlotte got in contact with me. They were interested in me coming in to play - a team where I respected the manager, obviously I knew Troy, knew a bunch of the guys and got close with them in my time there, knew a couple of the guys from playing in college. It wasn’t a hard decision. I didn’t see myself staying in Scandinavia for a period of time, like four years which was my contract, so it made it an easy decision. I come back to the States. In Charlotte, a beautiful city, and it was close proximity to Atlanta where my wife was going to school.
LC: The second year at Charlotte you were nominated for Goalkeeper of the Year. Do you consider that your best year of your professional career?
CM: (Pauses) Goalkeeping is a funny position. Sometimes those people who make the decision on Goalkeeper of the Year they look at stats only. It doesn’t really show the whole side of goalkeeping in general. I think style of play has a big thing to do with how many shutouts you get, so on and so forth. It was a good year for sure. It was my first full year in the United States where I was a 1 throughout the entire season.
Photo courtesy Mark Thor / Orlando City SC
Halfway through the year, top of the league, made it into the playoffs. A really good year. With the style of play we played in Charlotte, we were very expansive, possession-oriented, attacking style team, so again, it wasn’t all about the stats, but I guess someone in the front office saw what it really meant in goalkeeping beyond saves and clean sheets and save percentage. At the end of the day those don’t mean much. It’s all about winning and losing, and keeping your team in matches.
LC: Goalkeeping: As you said, it’s a tough position, and to get those stats, and to get those highlight reel moments, it almost requires a breakdown from some of your teammates.
LC: There’s distribution, there’s communication, but to really oversimplify it, to be a great goalkeeper, you almost need a team that makes mistakes.
CM: Yeah, you could say that. I think if you look at the teams with those stats that look appealing, they play a very defensive style of soccer. Goalkeeping - I always summarize it as this. It’s 90 minutes of complete stress. It’s a game of limiting mistakes and controlling what you can control. It starts with communication – can I communicate properly to my back 4 and midfield block to limit opportunities? If that breaks down, then I have to do my job, where I’m making saves, dealing with crosses, dealing with balls at my feet. Keeping is a totally different sport than soccer. It’s a game of complete concentration. Usually after games, people are asking “are you sore, are you tired?” I’m not really physically sore, but mentally, I’m done. 90 minutes, you’re laser-focused, and proper-passionate. And (regarding) communication, it’s not just communication, it’s the right type of communication. People can yell and talk, or say things to do, but the biggest thing is can I get someone to react to what I say? I think that goes all the way back to the earlier questions about studying communication. If I say “go left, Josh” he won’t go left until I say his name. But if I say, “Josh, go left”, he’ll go left sooner. It’s the proper communication. There’s so much to it. We could sit here for hours and speak about it.
LC: The notion of the mental taxation of being a goalkeeper and a question related that: was the Open Cup run more of a mental taxation, a physical one, or equal parts both? You guys were cranking, out Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday Wednesday, and you’re traveling everywhere. You’re missing your families. That to me is the very definition of a grind.
Photo by Josh Lane
CM: Not only were we playing these difficult Open Cup matches midweek, but we played every single one of them on the road, and not against just anyone. We played Phoenix Rising, the champions of the west, we played FC Dallas who have won WHATEVER amount of MLS cups and Open Cups, we played Colorado Rapids who were on a buzzing form in the league at the time. They just got a new manager and they were headed up and the finished the year that way. Minnesota United who were resting their first team to play against us on a midweek when we’ve played a Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday for four weeks in a row. The respect that this whole country now has when they see the stripes of the New Mexico United badge, it means something, and that was in six months of playing. It’s unbelievable, and it’s something that goes a long way. Now, when people play New Mexico United it’s their game of the year. We have the best fans in the United States, we have passionate players who want to play for a club and when we go away, they get the most fans they’ve ever had because they’re playing New Mexico United.
LC: One of the early “Cody Mizell tropes” that emerged from the New Mexico United fans is you’re not the typical goalkeeper in your nonverbals and how you react to things. A lot of the times you’ll see a goalkeeper get a shot ripped on them, they’ll make a great save and then they’ll immediately starting chewing a defender out. I do not recall that happening once throughout the season, but if they (United defenders) made a good play or they did something that really made your job a little easier, you were quick with the praise. Did that come from observing, and saying “this is the type of person I want to be”, or is it even deeper than that? Is it just naturally your personality?
CM: It’s a pet peeve of mine (Keepers yelling at their defenders). During the week, during training, I will get on the guys 100 percent, but in a match, if something breaks down, and I have to make a save, then that’s my job. At the end of the day, that’s what I’m paid to do. I think the biggest thing is when I give communication, and someone does something properly it’s rewarded. Defenders aren’t trying to make mistakes. That happens. That’s just life and sports in general. If soccer was a game of no mistakes, there’d be no goals, no fun, no passion. I’m a big passion guy. When my job is called upon, and I do my job, it’s a reward for me, and if you’re my defender and you make a big block that’s a reward to you. I’m passionate about those type of things. Goalkeepers, who after every single save are shouting at someone, I think that’s reactive communication, and I think it doesn’t really go that far. At the end of the day, I want to do nothing in a game. I want to sit there and watch us score 6 goals, have a day off and get paid to do nothing.
Photo by Juan Labreche
LC: Let’s talk year one. You were one of the first players signed, and you were taking a huge risk on an organization that was being built from scratch. What made you say yes?
CM: I knew with Troy that we were going to get a bunch of good dudes so I wasn’t worried about that.
We were going to get guys who would buy into a system, the system I knew Troy wanted to play. There were going to be guys who apply that system and be with the ethos 24 hours a day. I knew that being one of four guys signed.
LC: And then 18 or 19 more got added. What can you say about your teammates?
CM: You learn something new from everyone. I played with Josh Suggs in 2013 with Silverbacks, good guy, super chill, soccer is soccer, soccer is work for him, he’s a family guy, he likes to do his own thing, and you respect that about him. I played with Dave (Estrada), I played with Austin. Getting to know funny guys like Padilla, with his mustache. (chuckles)
LC: He’s ridiculous.
CM: He’s two different guys. He’s a goofball but when it comes time for football, he’s a great player. Working with guys like Ben and Phil every day is something brand new. I haven’t been on a squad where I’m that veteran leader as a goalkeeper. Usually it’s guys who are older than me or the same age, and we’re all competing for a spot.
Photo by Riley Russil
It’s a different type of role I had to play this year. I had to take a game off and it’s cool to play that different role and see a different side of soccer. When you know you’re not going to be involved in a week.
LC: But you still showed up. I think that’s pretty indicative of your personality, and the last thing I’d ask you to do is brag about yourself, but you were injured. You had every right in the world to stay home, but you didn’t.
CM: No man. Again, I have a passion for the club. I want it to succeed (taps the shield on his jacket). My success is nothing if my teammates aren’t succeeding. Obviously, it was a bummer that it was against a big rival, Four Corners cup on the line, but I was the biggest fan of New Mexico United that day, sitting in the stands. You should have mic’ed me up. You might have had to throw some beeps in there but…
LC: Big moment for Ben.
CM: For sure, and it was deserved. He was quality the whole year, and he deserved it. When it was time, he was called upon, and he did a great job, and if his name is called upon again, I’m sure he’ll do a great job.
LC: Did it make you nervous at all?
CM: No, because I knew with the culture we have in the club, the boys would have his back no matter what. If he had a great game, they’d be the first to ones to tell him. If he didn’t have a great game, they’d be the first ones to have his back, to get him in the game, back in the swing of things. I wasn’t worried.
LC: One of my favorite pictures of you is from opening night. You’re standing in the tunnel, getting ready to do the walkout, and you look like you’re about to burst with excitement. You look like a kid walking down the stairs at Christmas. What’s going on in your mind?
Photo by Josh Lane
CM: I was just buzzing. When Dylan’s song starts playing, you hear that, you’re with the little kids in the line, the fans above your head - It’s a ton of different emotions. And it’s, again, passion. I have a passion for a) what I do and b) for who and why I do it. I have a list in my locker: why I do what I do. It literally says “why I play soccer” and there’s three things in there. I won’t say them all, but one is passion. I think in every single thing you do in life, no matter what it is, if it’s your job, if it’s being a husband, if it’s taking your dog on a walk. You have to have a passion for it. If you’re doing it just to do it, you’re wasting your time. If I’m walking Finn, because I haven’t walked Finn today, I’m not going to enjoy it, I’m wasting my time doing it. He’s not going to enjoy it either because I’ll cut corners and take shortcuts. I won’t cut corners.
Going back to that moment it’s the whole preparation. Last year (2018, with Tampa Bay) wasn’t as successful. This is day one of making 2019 the best it can be. I get emotional, I’m an emotional guy, man. It means something to me to walk out with this club, to these people, to my wife, to you guys (gestures to myself and Josh). The work you guys do, it means something to me. I want to win for Lukas, every single game, and if I don’t it’s a letdown for myself, it’s a let down for you, a let down for your kids.
LC: What are you looking to improve on? After such an amazing, positive answer to the last question, I’m hard-pressed to ask that. (chuckles)
CM: Like as a player?
LC: As a player, as a club. How the club can improve on things, how we (front office folks) can improve on things?
CM: I can’t sit down and say, as a club, what we can improve on. It’s great man. I know that from Peter down to the ladies and gentlemen that clean the stadium after the game, everyone is looking to improve. I don’t see a need for improvement, because it’s great, but it’s just like me, when I sit down and assess after every single game. I’ll play 90 minutes, I’ll go home, I’ll eat with my wife, and then I’ll re-watch the game. Like that (Snaps his fingers). So I’ll be up until 3, 4 a.m. the day after games. I’m just looking to see how I played, what the camera shows you, then I get another piece when I come back in on Mondays -from the gaffer, from Mike (Graczyk), my teammates. It’s nitpicking little things from here to there. I feel like I have trust in all of you that you’re doing the same. In preseason this past year, I came and sat in on a Monday meeting, and it’s cool to see how you guys do it. You assess last week, you assess what you’re going to do this week, what are the goals, and I think that’s huge.
LC: Any particularly haunting moments, any moments from the 2019 campaign that you can’t shake?
CM: Not necessarily, because I’m not the type of guy to dwell on that. I know it’s kind of cliché but everything is a learning opportunity – if it’s a mistake in a game, if it’s something you missed in your preparation, little details.
Photo by Josh Lane
I don’t dwell on it whatsoever. That’s the nature of goalkeeping too. You take everything right in front of you. Right now, I’m eating my meal and that’s what I’m focused on. And talking with you. If I’m focused on “what am I going to do when I drive home?” then right now is not going to be as successful.
LC: Have you ever done anything with mindfulness: studied it, or tried to incorporate any of the concepts?
LC: You’re just naturally mindful. (laughs) The answer you just gave is an answer a monk would give after years of study. What are some of those favorite off-the-pitch moments with the team? I notice sometimes you guys sit around and watch games together, and those seem like special moments.
CM: How this sport is, your teammates become your family. You spend more time with them during the season than you do with your wife, and kids, and pets. Having that good core group of guys, who you can sit down and chat with is the best. You give credit to the gaffer. Him making that culture goes far beyond football. When the times get rough, you don’t have a good stretch of games, guys stay on target to continue what we set on day one.
LC: What’s your message to the supporters?
CM: As athletes we put ourselves out to get criticized every single day. With social media today you get positive with positive (feedback with results) and the negative with the negative. With New Mexico United fans, something I respect the most is, that they care, that it means something to them, it means something to their families, their state, their city. The coolest thing is the amount of passion that they have for the badge, for what it means to them. It’s super easy as a young soccer player to win a game, or lose, and then it’s on to the next one. Here, they won’t have that. I think that’s great because it keeps you accountable. They’re always watching, they respect you as a person and an athlete but they hold you accountable when you don’t have the success they want, that they picture for their state. I think it’s awesome.
Photo by Josh Lane
LC: What are you looking forward to most in 2020?
CM: Everything man. I’m looking forward to having the core group of guys back, I’m looking forward to what new guys are going to add to our team, looking forward to winning more games, looking forward to winning trophies, looking forward to what our new jerseys are going to look like. When you look back to the culture of this club it means something. It’s hard to put into words. When we win, it’s not just putting three points on the board. It’s for you guys, because I know the grind you put in every single week. So when we get three points, and I see you guys, it amps me up even more. When I see little kids waving their flags, it means something. They’re going to have a good day because we had a good day, and vice versa. If we have a bad day, they’re going to have a bad day.
LC: Being a husband myself, if this interview comes out, and if we haven’t devoted time for bragging on your amazing wife, we’ve missed an opportunity. We were talking about how she just radiates this kindness and caring. Let’s hear it from your perspective. What’s up with Mrs. Mizell?
Photo courtesy of the Mizells
CM: Oooh. She is the biggest heart you’ll ever meet…ever. She pours her heart out into everything as well. She’s such a hard worker, such an amazing wife, so supportive of everything I do. It’s not easy being married to an athlete because life isn’t stable: financially, because you can get released at any time, and you don’t have a job again until the following January; moving around – I’ve played now in 2 different countries, I played with Atlanta Silverbacks, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Charlotte Independence, Colorado Rapids, and New Mexico United.
That’s six clubs in seven years. To have someone who supports you that way is huge, and she’s awesome dude. She’s just awesome (chuckles)
LC: And you guys are about to become awesome parents. I bet you’re looking forward to that.
CM: I’m excited man. We found out in June, and I had little dude’s room ready by July. Had it painted, had a crib. It goes back to everything I do in life, I’m super passionate about it. A cool thing is my kid will always, for the rest of his life, be from New Mexico. That’s something that attaches me even more to this logo.
LC: That’s your son’s birthplace
CM: Yep, I think I’m going to get pretty emotional the first game.
Photo by Josh Lane
LC: No one wants you retire anytime soon but we’d remiss if we didn’t talk about what you’re going to do after the pro career. I know you’re involved with HPP (High Performance Program). Are you enjoying coaching? Is that the route you think you might go? Or are you going to go completely off the grid, and be an accountant? What’s next?
CM: Probably not something with numbers. The amount of time that I’ve put into soccer, it’s something I have to stick with. I feel like I have a ton of knowledge, and experiences. Playing this sport is something I need to give back. I think I’ll find myself in the soccer realm. I don’t know if it’ll be coaching, which I’m leaning towards right now, but it may be towards the agency side of things, or the GM (general manager) side of things.
LC: You’d be incredible in the front office. We’d just have you lead the Monday morning meetings.
CM: Everybody would be amped for the whole week.
Photo by Riley Russil
Sports, like life, is unpredictable. This interview was conducted in early December 2019, and a few weeks after we chatted, Cody was offered a trial with the New York City FC. I consider him a friend, so I was overwhelmingly happy for him, but selfishly I didn’t want to lose him in New Mexico (and I didn’t want this piece to go unpublished).
He played incredibly well on trial. Twitter was buzzing with Cody Mizell video highlights, and praise from pundits. No one would have been surprised if NYCFC had signed Cody, and no one would have blamed Cody for taking an incredible opportunity to play in the MLS. As of now, it looks like Gotham is not in Cody’s immediate plans.
He came back to the Land of Enchantment on January 20th, and he and Lisa welcomed a fine young man named Luke into the world on January 27th. Cody was back on the training ground on February 3rd, and fans rejoiced to see him play in the team’s February 8th intrasquad scrimmage.
As a fan, I’m grateful that we have such a powerful presence and leader back for 2020. As an employee, I’m grateful that I get another year of drawing on Cody’s amazing personality for social media posts and community appearances. Most importantly, as a person, I’m grateful for the lessons I learned in this interview and throughout the NYCFC saga. I’m not worrying about what comes next or what happened in the past. 2020 is going to be an incredible season, and my passionate friend from Georgia, with his inexhaustible source of energy, and his penchant for praise and positivity is going to be a part of it.