Jarrett Campbell's a family man, a businessman and a soccer—well, nut is not too strong a word. He has a passion for it, let's put it that way. As founder and ringleader of the Triangle Soccer Fanatics, he's front and center in the "Fans" section behind the south goal at WakeMed Soccer Park when the Carolina Railhawks are at home. "You can't miss us," he says helpfully. "We're the ones with the drums, the flags and the smoke bombs. We're pretty loud and obnoxious."
When he's not cheering on the Hawks, Campbell is rooting for his kids, Maxwell, 9, and Molly, 6, both soccer players. Zoe, 7 months? Not yet.
Campbell's job as marketing manager in the U.S. for a French company, Schneider Electric, requires him to travel throughout the U.S. and Europe half the time. So when he's at home in West Cary, his time is devoted to family things with his wife, Elizabeth, and the kids. Fortunately, Elizabeth shares his passion for soccer. "Well, she tolerates it," he says, correcting the record. "She understands that it's my outlet. It's better than a lot of other things."
When we asked Campbell to tell us his "Best of" places and things, two themes emerged: close to home, and soccer. Downtown Raleigh? He likes it, just doesn't have a lot of time for it. But Sunday brunch at the Hibernian Pub in Glenwood South is a "semiregular family event." The food's good, and 11 a.m. is about the time the soccer games come on live at the Hibernian from Europe.
Here's Campbell's list:
Any summer evening: Walking with the kids from our place in western Cary to the Kilwin's in Stone Creek, 2004 Boulderstone Way, for ice cream.
"If I had to pick one thing I don't like about the Triangle, it is that the distances between things are not as pedestrian-friendly as I would like. But I was excited when a new shopping center opened within a short, safe walk from my home near the corner of Davis Road and High House in western Cary. Now we can take the kids out for a nice summer evening walk and stop in at the Kilwin's in Stone Creek shopping center for some great ice cream in a waffle cone, some wonderful chocolate-covered apples or a wide variety of fudge and chocolate truffles. I think you feel less guilty about eating the decadent sweets if you walk there and back instead of driving."
Any night the kids are playing soccer: Watching at XL Soccer World, 5600 Hillsborough St.
"As a parent of two soccer-playing kids, we spend a lot of time in the stands watching practice and games. One of my favorite places in the Triangle to watch my kids play soccer or play myself is at XL Soccer World on Hillsborough Street just east of Raleigh. Formerly known as SoccerDome America, XL Soccer World is run by British expat and longtime Triangle resident Rich King. It is the only soccer-specific indoor facility in the Triangle, and they have recently upgraded the fields with the latest in FieldTurf artificial playing surfaces. As a bonus, they have big-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi access and a concession area that serves light snacks, soft drinks and beer. Whether you are watching your kids play out of the rain or the humid North Carolina summers, sharing a beer with friends after playing yourself or watching the pros on TV with other soccer fans, XL Soccer World is a great place for soccer-loving Triangle residents to spend some time."
Any night the RailHawks are playing: WakeMed Soccer Park, 201 Soccer Park Drive, off East Chatham Street, Cary
"Probably my favorite thing to do with my family in the Triangle is to take in a RailHawks soccer game at WakeMed Soccer Park. There are also some good youth soccer games played there. Local fans may not realize it, but we have the privilege of having one of the nicer small soccer-specific stadiums in the United States. In fact, the facilities are so top-notch that twice the U.S. National Team has chosen Cary as their training camp base before the World Cup. As the founder of the RailHawks supporters club, the Triangle Soccer Fanatics, a trip to WakeMed Soccer Park is much more than just a soccer game. The fan club tailgates for several hours pregame, stands and chants for the team for the entire 90 minutes and then heads to a nearby pub or restaurant afterward to deconstruct the team's performance and our chances in the next match coming up." Next home game: Tuesday, June 15, 7 p.m. against the Charlotte Eagles.
Any night the kids aren't playing and the RailHawks aren't either: Trali Irish Pub & Restaurant, 10370 Moncrieiffe Road, Brierdale shopping center, Raleigh, is a great place to watch soccer.
"When I first moved to the Triangle, one of the first things I did was found a social group for soccer fans in the area who enjoyed getting together in local bars to watch soccer matches on TV. We've tried just about every pub and sports bar in the Triangle, and we finally settled on Trali Irish Pub & Restaurant as our home base. Not only does the Trali bar staff always make sure we get the soccer games on in their cozy Cottage Bar area, but the food in the restaurant is some of the tastiest pub food you'll find anywhere (not just in the Triangle). In particular, the lunch Carvery menu with a unique selection of fresh meats and sides each day is one of my favorite lunches in the area."
When there's no soccer being played: Catching an art or indie film (or the cricket World Cup!) at the Galaxy Cinema, 770 Cary Towne Blvd., Cary
"Everywhere I have lived, I have had a special relationship with my local art cinema. With several options in the Triangle, I found myself at the Galaxy Cinema in Cary more often than any other.Not only does the Galaxy get the most popular and some of the more obscure independent films, they also cater to many ethnic audiences with foreign films. I like the fact that they serve beer and wine and some nontraditional movie theater snacks. In addition to films, the Galaxy has been known to show sporting events on their big screens, such as cricket or the soccer World Cup." With six screens, the Galaxy bills itself as the largest art-house theater in North Carolina.
Coming up Wednesday, June 9: Victory, part of the Indy's Soccer Film Festival held in conjunction with the World Cup.
When it's nice out: Riding my bicycle on the back roads surrounding Lake Jordan or Falls Lake on the American Tobacco Trail, or the various other greenways around Cary and Raleigh
"Cary is a bike-friendly town with lots of bike lanes, wide shoulders and greenways, but what I really enjoy is getting on my road bike and heading out into the country. In just about 10 minutes of riding from western Cary, I can be out on the back roads leading out to and around the back side of Lake Jordan for a peaceful ride through the countryside. The small, picturesque chapels, such as Martha's Chapel and O'Kelly Chapel, are some of the highlights of my usual route. I can spend hours on the weekend taking in the fresh air and relaxing on the byways of the Triangle." Maps: Triangle Greenways Council.
On a Memorial Day weekend: Sarah P. Duke Gardens, 426 Anderson St., Durham
"With the kids growing like weeds, we made our annual trek to Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham to grab some photos of the children and enjoy the peaceful environs this Memorial Day morning. The Duke Gardens are one of our best-loved places to visit when photographing the kids, and it seems every time we go there I find yet another perfect spot to pose the children among the rocks, bridge, flowers and gardens. In particular, I love the Japanese Peace Garden, and some of my favorite photos are of the kids playing among the bamboo."