By Jeff Batt | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Flagler men’s soccer team has had a shaky start to the season, and part of that has been due to injuries like the one that has sidelined Jonny Cosgrove, one of the team’s standout players.
As a freshman in 2012, the native of Belfast, Northern Ireland, started in 17 matches, added three goals and lead the team with 8 assists, which was 5th in the Peach Belt Conference. In his sophomore year he played in 16 matches and started in 14 of them. Cosgrove added another goal and three assists and received the Peach Belt Conference President’s Honor Roll Silver Scholar.
This season Cosgrove has continued his success for the Saints by adding five goals to his career statistics. He was sidelined for the past few games due to a strained hamstring, but got some game time during their match this past Saturday and expects to play for the crucial conference tournament coming up.
Sitting out with the injury has been tough for Cosgrove.
“It has been really affecting me mentally especially since I have tried to come back twice and reinjured my hamstring,” he said. “It is so frustrating when the season is so short and my frustration has been compounded by the fact that the team has not been doing too well.”
Cosgrove has began kicking a soccer ball at the age of four. Like many young aspiring soccer players, he began at a junior academy in Ireland called APEX Soccer Academy.
He did not play in high school, but instead was part of the English professional soccer team Fulham FC’s Academy Team. The whole point for the academy is to transition potential stars to professional-grade players. Cosgrove continued at Fulham’s Junior Academy until the age of 18 before moving on to play at Flagler.
Cosgrove is adjusting to the “southern lifestyle” well, and says he has never felt homesick partly because he moved from Northern Ireland to England at the age of 16 and has gotten used to being away from home.
Ever since he was a young boy he has had role models that have kept him motivated to reach his goal of playing professionally. The list includes Thierry Henry, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Robbie Keane and fellow countryman Rory McIlroy.
There are several traits a soccer player must possess to be considered great, but Cosgrove said there is one more important than any other: “There are many skills to master, but it is all about attitude, 100 percent.”
The food in America has not been hard to adjust to, but rather the name of the sport bothers Cosgrove on occasion. For people who do not know, overseas fans refer to what we call soccer as “football.” It has been hard for him to adjust to especially since our football is not played with our feet, but rather our hands. “We joke that American football should be called hand-egg,” said Cosgrove.
Cosgrove’s soccer skills continue to impress fans, and he hopes that they will eventually be good enough for him to become a professional once he graduates. If that goal does not become a reality, Cosgrove hopes that he can take his business degree from Flagler into the sports industry.
After rebounding from a five-game losing streak, the team has rebounded with two solid wins. Cosgrove knows how crucial those wins are for the team based on what lies ahead of them in the next couple of weeks.
“We have won our last two matches after a difficult spill, so hopefully we can take the confidence from that and win the tournament,” he said.