“Futbol is not a matter of life or death. I assure you it’s more important than that.”
This quote, tattooed onto the arm of men’s soccer’s Reco McLaren ’14, represents the way he lives his life and shows us how he’s accomplished so much in his soccer career.
McLaren is a transfer from Herkimer County Community College, in Herkimer, N.Y., where his accomplishments with the Generals were plentiful.
In 2011, McLaren and the Generals were Division III National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Champions, and McLaren was named player of the tournament.
He also ended the season as Region III Player of the year for Division III, Mountain Valley Conference Player of the Year, and as an All-American, as decided by the NJCAA.
It was the great technical ability that got McLaren spotted by Fairfield University’s coaching staff in high school, when he played for Central High School in Bridgeport, Conn.
At the start of the 2012, McLaren was in the starting 11 for the Stags, and has started every game since.
“It wasn’t that much of a process [fitting into the team]. I’m used to the playing style and the high intensity,” said McLaren. But for the smaller aspects that he did need help adjusting to, McLaren said that there were people he found he could look to.
“The senior leadership is amazing on this team. The guidance from them really helped me out a lot,” McLaren said.
With the guidance and leadership of the senior class, as well as McLaren’s outstanding skill and speed, McLaren has propelled himself to a fantastic start to the season and his Fairfield University campaign.
Nine games into the season, McLaren has recorded two goals, which is second on the team, only to Jordan Ayris ’15, who has three goals. With the help of Ayris and McLaren, the Stags are currently 4-4-1, but McLaren believes the team can do better.
“I think we had a slow start to the season, but we’re slowly building on it,” McLaren said, and he just might be right.
In Saturday night’s game against the University of Rhode Island, the Stags defeated the Rams 2-0, their biggest margin of victory thus far this season.
Ayris tallied both of Fairfield’s goals, the first of which coming off of a pass by Jon Clements ’14, over the heads of the defense in the 51st minute. Ayris was still left with work to do as he chipped the ball over the keeper’s head and into the back of the net.
The second goal for the Stags came 21 minutes later when Adam Cowen ’13 got his head onto the ball off of a corner kick. The shot was saved by URI’s keeper Thomas Spenser, but the ball fell to Ayris’ feet, and he slid the ball into the corner of the net to make it 2-0.
While McLaren did not get his name on the score sheet, he is nevertheless a crucial factor in the Stags’ success. McLaren has incredible speed that allows him to outrun most defenders, a deft touch on the ball and good awareness of where his fellow players are.
Ahead of their redemption match against familiar foes Brown University, the Stags were looking for inspiration to forget their last matchup. When the Stags played the Bears in their first game of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, Brown came back from a 2-0 defecit to win in the last 10 minutes.
This time, the Stags improved, tying 19th raked Brown 0-0 on Tuesday night.
The Stags will finally open up MAAC play at rivals Iona on Oct. 6. McLaren and the Stags will look to get off on a good foot as they hope to keep the MAAC Championship Trophy at Fairfield.