By Eric Albury | firstname.lastname@example.org
With 11 foreign players sporting accents from England, Ireland and Bermuda, this year’s men’s soccer team has become a cultural mash-up that makes games feel more like spectating at an international match.
It may seem odd that the foreigners come all the way to Flagler to play soccer, but head coach John Lynch has a specific purpose to seek out these players.
“One of the main reasons why we have internationals is that the American players are over-exposed to colleges and it is sometimes easier to find a good international player,” coach Lynch said.
A senior from Nottingham, England, Adam Jackson has come to find that having a good deal of foreign players on the team helps both them and the Americans in multiple ways, including adapting to a new country.
“It’s good for us to help settle in, because we are a very long way from home,” Jackson said. “It’s also good for soccer in America because it shows it’s starting to become global.”
With their distinct cultural upbringings, the players each have their advantages. Jackson said that growing up with the sport gives the Europeans a technical advantage, but the Americans are often fitter than the Europeans. Nick Duncan, a senior from Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., also sees the differences, giving Americans the upper hand in strength.
“Usually size matters more over here and skill is more reliable [for foreigners],” Duncan said.
Lynch adds that the cultural diversity helps the students grow as both players and adults, creating a great learning environment on and off the field. The players also enjoy the broad range of cultures, and find that they compliment each other.
“We all bring something different to the team, which makes us better overall,” Jackson said.
Some of the players have grown so much together that they not only look to them as teammates, but also an extension of their family.
“[The team] feels like a second family every time I’ve been here,” Duncan said. “We all work for each other and not just for ourselves.”
The Saints are still looking to achieve that coveted national championship title, and many of the seniors, including Duncan, are looking to share that title with the players that make up their second family, whether they be American or foreigners.
“I am very happy with my teammates, and I will be even more happy if we win a national championship this year,” Duncan said.