The US Portsmouth FA Vase star who gave up playing football for a year
One of the stars of US Portsmouth’s extraordinary run to the semi-finals of the FA Vase has revealed how he became so disillusioned with football he didn’t play for a year.
Striker Dec Seiden has netted four times during a memorable cup run featuring six wins over higher division opposition in seven history-making rounds.
The 24-year-old scored from open play in the wins against AFC Portchester and Bournemouth Poppies, and from the penalty spot against Millbrook and Tavistock.
He was also on target from 12 yards in the shoot-out success against Christchurch at the Victory Stadium last month.
Now only Hellenic League Premier Division side Binfield stand between USP and a dream trip to Wembley.
It’s all a far cry from the time when Seiden turned his back on the sport after a few seasons at Moneyfields.
After making his debut in 2013/14, he was restricted to just one start and 18 sub appearances the following term. That was no real surprise, given the form of strikers Steve Hutchings (42) and Alfie Rutherford (28) who shared 70 league and cup goals between them that season.
Chances were also hard to come by after Dave Carter had taken over as Moneys boss from Miles Rutherford a few months into the 2015/16 season.
That led to Seiden deciding to step away from playing.
‘I didn’t play for a year, not even Sunday football,’ he recalled.
‘I was in and around the first team when Miles and Graham (Gee) were there. But when Moby (Dave Carter) came in I wasn’t playing so I decided to give up.
‘I just went and watched games for a year - I watched Moneys, I watched US as I knew a few of the players, and I watched Baffins.’
Seiden was persuaded to pull on his boots again when Glenn Turnbull - who he had played under for Moneys reserves – made contact in the summer of 2018.
‘Glenn phoned me up to say he was taking over at US reserves, he was looking for a forward and did I want to give it a go?’ Seiden remarked.
‘It was perfect for me, and it made me fall back in love with it again.
‘I’d played for Glenn at Moneys reserves. Glenn’s good at building team spirit, people enjoy playing for him, they want to play for him, he’s good at building the camaraderie.
‘Glenn is everyone’s best mate - he’s great at man management
‘He’s not a tactical manager, he gets other people to do that like (coach) Paul Barton.’
Seiden was to score eight goals in 31 first team appearances - 12 as a sub - for US in the 2018/19 Wessex 1 season.
But he became more of a regular starter, and scorer, once Turnbull took over first team duties ahead of last season.
Seiden was to end the pandemic-shortened 2019/20 campaign as the second top scorer with 14 league and cup goals - seven behind James Franklyn.
Seiden is again second top marksman this term, with 10 goals, and again only Franklyn (18) is in front of him.
Much has been made of USP’s team spirit since Turnbull took charge, but sides under-estimate the squad’s ability at their peril.
‘We haven’t got the semi-final of a national cup because we’re all good mates, we’re a good side as well,’ declared Seiden.
‘It’s a mixture of that camaraderie and the fact we can play.
‘I think some teams have almost disrespected us, but when you get to the semi-final of a national cup you do lose that element of surprise. But I do think we’re good enough to get over that.
‘Binfield will be thinking they’ll never get a better chance of going to Wembley, but we’re thinking the same.
‘We’ll be the underdogs again at the weekend and I know Binfield won their last game 5-0 (at Long Eaton United in the quarter-final). But they’ve also won three rounds on penalties, so you could say they’ve scraped through.
‘We’ve only had one draw, all the other games we’ve won comfortably.
‘I don’t think any of the sides we’ve beaten could say we’ve been lucky.
‘It is surreal. At the level we play you’d have said there was absolutely zero chance (of getting to Wembley) but now we’re only 90 minutes from glory.’