Silverbacks goalie Nasco also protects as a deputy

Joe Nasco, sheriff’s deputy, sounds a lot like, Joe Nasco, Silverbacks goalie.

Nasco takes charge.

He is protective.

He is good at directing traffic.

Nasco, who has four shutouts in 19 starts, and the Silverbacks will host New York in the North American Soccer League’s season-ending championship game, the Soccer Bowl, on Saturday. Next week, Nasco will re-join the Gordon County Sheriff’s office as a part-time deputy.

“Protecting the goal, very commanding in my box. That’s my style,” Nasco said. “It goes hand in hand (with being a deputy).”

Nasco laughs when similarities between the jobs are pointed out to him. He laughs a lot.

Perhaps because being in goal again was something that he had given up on after failed trails with two professional teams in 2009. His soccer career, which included being a two-time All-American at Andrew College, was over. He was satisfied and ready to move on.

He joined the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office in 2010, where he worked at the jail. He graduated from the sheriff’s academy and began to go out on night patrols in 2011.

A guy in the office asked Nasco if he would like to join the Sunday soccer league that some of them played in.

“For two years, I was out of it,” he said. “I didn’t have much of a second thought (about soccer). Still, I started playing with them, got the itch.”

In 2012, he heard that the Silverbacks were going to hold open tryouts. His wife, Amber, encouraged him to go. The Silverbacks, under a previous coaching staff, signed him as a backup.

“I’m glad he was here when I got here,” said coach Brian Haynes, who took over in August 2012. “When I saw him, I knew there was something I liked.”

Particularly, Haynes like Nasco’s soft hands and his aggressiveness in taking control of anything that comes into the penalty box.

That protective instinct comes out again.

“The one thing I challenged him was to earn the No. 1 spot, and then to keep it,” Haynes said.

Nasco did that, helping the Silverbacks win the spring portion of the NASL schedule, which guaranteed a spot as host of the championship game.

Nasco’s wife, who is expecting their first baby in March, attends his games, including surprising him when he made his first start in Puerto Rico last year.

Nasco’s contract with the Silverbacks expires after this year. He is 29, which may be old generally for an athlete, but not for a goalkeeper. Nasco says he has many good years left. He hopes his performances will earn a trial with an MLS team.

“That’s a dream of everyone playing,” he said.

If that doesn’t work out, and the Silverbacks don’t offer him another contract — Haynes said they hope to — Nasco will become a school resource officer. Though not soccer, it will give him a chance to see Amber, who is a teacher at a middle school.

He seems fine with either possibility. After all, he thought he was done with soccer once.

“This has been very rewarding,” he said. “It’s something I’ve always dreamed of as a kid. All the support I’ve gotten from my wife and family makes it 10 times better.”