Tally Hall is an American professional soccer player for Major League Soccer who has earned numerous top awards in his career including being selected two time MVP and joining the All Stars USA Team. He has played both in the United States and abroad for Denmark. Most recently he was on the team at Orlando City.
“When you’re a goal keeper, you have a big responsibility with time… Because of this, watches are very important to me and there’s always one on my wrist.”
Talmon, can I call you Tally? We met at an exotic car show in Florida at the U-Boat Watch area where you were wearing a Chimera Chrono Bronze. You told me one of your passions was watches, but then I discovered you also play a bit of soccer. Ok, that’s a bit of an understatement. You are an MLS professional soccer goalie that has earned numerous awards including MVP on two separate occasions.
David Beckham is among the top players you’ve played against, can you tell me if you’ve ever played against your own heroes and what that feels like?
That’s probably been the most surreal part of what I do; it’s when I play guys I grew up watching. I am still the 12 year old kid looking up to them. For example, one of those guys is Casey Keller – US national team goal keeper; a legend. And at the end of his career, I played against him a couple times and we even got to play together on the All Star team in 2011. I couldn’t believe that I was sitting on the bench with him, and during the second half he came on to replace me. It was one of those things… we’re all pros and on the same level, but at the same time I have an autographed t-shirt that he signed when I was really young. Of course he didn’t remember me, but I still have it. There are a couple moments when I am still that little kid again, and those are some of the funnest moments.
You’ve played both in the US and overseas, can you tell me what you’ve learned from that?
Overseas soccer is so ingrained in the culture. The youth system is further along because it’s been in the European, South American, Central American cultures for a while. In the US soccer is dominated by other sports but that’s changing. I think the youth development system is an area where US soccer is focusing a lot of attention and will see a huge rise in young Americans.
Also, here in the US there’s this idea that the US is not great in soccer, but it really is. Our American mentality of playing a lot of sports has been a benefit to the US on the international scene but it focuses only on the ones we are top performers in. But, what’s interesting is a lot of the countries we put on a pedestal of where we want to be; well, we’ve done better than those countries many times.
You mentioned that you wear a suit to every game, home or away. Can you tell me why you do that?
Yes, when I look at a professional athlete, it’s the James Bond of the sports world; it’s those who made it to the very top of the profession and stay there. To get here we all passed a lot of people and not because they didn’t work as hard at all, and I respect that. Because of this, and because we perform in front of millions of people, we have an opportunity to represent the very best.
So when I come to every game, I represent the best. To me that’s a tie, nice shoes, a suit, and a nice watch. It gets me into the zone, and I know that the kids watching and every person out there knows that. There’s nothing wrong with being the best dressed guy in the room.
Time has always been an important thing to you as a goal keeper. Is that why watches are one of your passions?
When you’re a goal keeper, you have a big responsibility with time. If you’re behind, you don’t want to take a long time because the guys need to go in for a counterattack. If you’re winning, you want to go slower because your teammates are trying to catch a break for 5-10 seconds. My actions affect the team , so I’ve been thinking about time since I was a competitive goal keeper at 12 years old.
Because of this, watches are very important to me and there’s always one on my wrist. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way why you should buy a quality watch. Most of the first ones I purchased simply fell apart or broke. I’m not just a soccer player; I like to hunt, hike, bmx, wakeboard… so I need something that doesn’t just look good but is built well. I remember when I was younger and I got my first high end watch; it was like “OH! This is why you have a nice watch!” It felt right and it made me confident; it was perfect.
Tell me why U-Boat Watches.
The look to me stands out; it says there’s more. Even though I have this focus on watches and their uniqueness, I like to express that there’s more to the man I am. To have a high end watch that says it’s rugged is valuable and extremely attractive. I don’t want my favorite accessories to be decorations, I want them to have a history and personality. Point blank, it’s a manly watch – I look at it and say, that’s a man’s watch from back in the day when men were men. It’s a watch that you wear when you did work, then when you needed to go out and dress up.
When I found U-Boat, the history attracted me. They have a purpose and a reason to be what they are and I get to tell their story if anyone asks.
One last question, what drives you?
It’s not what you think; it’s the things that are just out of reach. I consider getting to two finals as an accomplishment that not every athlete gets to have – to play in the last final game of the year. When you get to the final, you have put in that entire season – 10 months of your life, goes into that one game. Anything but a win is a missed opportunity. When you work ten months for one game that’s the game I want to win and that’s the game I want to work to get back to. The ups and downs through the season, that end goal; you would gladly give those 10 months for that one game.
The biggest driving factor is to always be a better version than my yesterday’s self. Getting so close to these really big opportunities, getting so close is something that drives me. I want to go to those big opportunities and go home with a big fancy ring on my finger to match my watch.