Born in Kansas and raised in Indiana, Minnesota United backup goalkeeper Eric Dick considers himself at home wherever he is.
That's a good thing for a guy who has been with three MLS teams and five USL Championship teams from Columbus and Kansas City to Phoenix, Tulsa and beyond since 2018.
Ever since Sporting Kansas City loaned him to Phoenix Rising in 2020, he has explored the great outdoors in his new surroundings, which led him to a weekend on Minnesota's North Shore during the Loons' recent World Cup qualifying schedule break.
"I got hooked on that when I was in Arizona," he said, "and now I'm hooked again in Minnesota."
He became a Loon when the club claimed him in the MLS Re-Entry Draft's Stage 2 last winter and now is part of a four-man goalkeeper corps that coach Adrian Heath calls the league's best.
At age 27, Dick's training presence might give his new club confidence to sell veteran goalkeeper Tyler Miller if the price becomes right. He'd then become Dayne St. Clair's backup while the team grooms young Fred Emmings.
Dick found his way to a new place many Minnesotans have never visited the same as so many do.
"I just went online and Googled it, " he said. "I typed in 'Cool places to go in Minnesota,' and sure enough, the North Shore was one of the first things that popped up."
So that's where the keeper who shut out Colorado Rapids 2 for the Loons' reserve MNUFC2 team 4-0 ended up last month in his Toyota hybrid and an Airbnb in Beaver Bay. Other first teamers who also need game action will get a chance to play Wednesday in a U.S. Open Cup game at Forward Madison (Wis.).
"Smack dab in the middle of all these little hikes," he said. "I just love walks. There's something about hiking up to an overlook and seeing stuff from a different point of view that you just don't see every day."
So that's how he came to Split Rock State Park and its lighthouse, a partially frozen gooseberry Falls and 900 feet above Lake Superior on Palisade Head's clifftops on a cold, clear weekend off.
"And I went to Tette-something, too," he said.
Tettegouche State Park.
"That's it," said Dick, the 2018 MLS Super Draft's 13th overall pick out of Butler University.
He did all the things tourists do.
"I took the typical selfie with the lighthouse," Dick said. "There were a ton of campers there, too. Interesting they trust a thin thing of nylon on five-degree nights. I loved it. I enjoy seeing people out there enjoying nature."
He also stopped in Two Harbors on the way home and bought a Betty's pie — a North Shore tradition — for his dad Randy's upcoming visit that got a rare high-five approval.
"Bumbleberry," Dick said.
Dick wants to return, preferably with other Loons in a team-building vacation along the big lake. He bought an annual state park sticker so he can explore Banning and Interstate parks closer to home as well.
Heath encourages his players to see the sights in their new home, whether it's a summer's afternoon on Lake Minnetonka or a road trip to Lake Superior.
"I've been up there and done it," Heath said. "It's a beautiful part of the world, for sure. I'm not sure about this time of year, though. I did it in summer and it was lovely."
For a landlubber like Dick, the panoramic view from atop Palisade Head's cliffs is a sight to see. He shared a video on his Twitter account.
"Seeing Superior from up there is unbelievable," he said. "It just seems endless, like an ocean. I've been to the ocean and I was like, "Are you sure this is a lake?'"
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