The Fairfield men’s soccer team is a very diverse group, with many of its members coming from outside the country. This year’s squad boasts a whopping 12 foreign players, each of whom hope to contribute to the team. Plus, five of these foreigners are freshmen, hailing from countries like Sweden, New Zealand and England.
Forward Jordan Ayris ‘15 is from Bicester, England. Growing up there, Ayris was immersed in the soccer culture, resulting in him playing since he was a child. Ayris started every game of his freshman campaign, getting the nod in 18 contests during the 2011-2012 season. The forward scored a goal in 10 of his 18 appearances, including four straight games at Loyola, Rider, Canisius and Niagara. He picked up a goal in his first collegiate game against nationally ranked Boston College. During the summer, he plays in the Premier Development League as a member of FC London in Canada, allowing him to hone his skills while not at school. As a senior, it will be up to Ayris not only to produce for the team, but lead it as well.
Defender George Newton ‘16 is from Cheshire, England. Similar to Ayris, Newton has been playing soccer for much of his life. As a teenager, he played for the English Schoolboys under 18 soccer team, which is an honor considering that he got to play for his country, something many players can only dream of. Newton proved that he had what it takes to play for Fairfield early in his career, as he started all 16 of the team’s games during his freshman year. He proved to be one of the conference’s top defensive players by the season’s end, earning a spot on the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference All-Rookie team, a tremendous achievement. As an upperclassman, it will be up to Newton to serve as an example for his younger teammates, which is something that he should have no trouble doing this season.
Goalkeeper Joe Martin ‘17 is from York, England. Last year, he joined the starting lineup at the season opener and never relinquished control of his line, starting all 16 games and playing all but 45 minutes of the team’s 1,506 minutes. In his first career start, Martin made three saves in a 1-1 tie against Hartwick College. The goalkeeper posted back-to-back five-save shutouts at one point and would go on to post two more shutouts later in the year. Martin will hope to continue his excellent play this year, but will need to fight for the starting position.
Midfielder Ben Whitcomb ‘17 is from Liverpool, England. He has only played in four games in his Fairfield career, but has high hopes for the upcoming season. Whitcomb has been playing soccer since he was young because his father wanted him to either play soccer or box, and he doesn’t like boxing (though he is a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu). Whitcomb feels that the team is special because it is made up of so many different people from all over the world.
Defender Martin Lindgren ‘17 is from Sundbyberg, Sweden. He did not miss a game in his freshman season, getting the starting nod in each of the team’s 16 games. Lindgren was one of two freshmen to start every game in 2013, and he was on the pitch for all four of the team’s shutouts. Lindgren also contributed offensively with a pair of goals for four points. He scored a goal in each of his first two career shots, netting a goal against UMass Amherst and another versus UMass Lowell one game later.
Last but not least is James Taylor ‘16, a forward from Lancashire, England. Taylor played for the Burnley FC Academy from the time he was 8 years old, and became the youngest player to ever represent the actual Burnley FC reserve team at 15 years old. During his freshmen year at Fairfield, Taylor got injured, preventing him from suiting up for many of the team’s games. Though he has not yet scored many points for the Stags, Taylor is a highly skilled offensive weapon, and draws the attention of the defense away from his teammates. He will hope to get on the board a lot more this year, and seems primed to do so.
With such a bevy of diverse, talented players, the Stags should be in a good position to have a successful season.