Playing soccer with an accent (audio) 1

By Brad Barber

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INTRO MUSIC

BRAD BARBER
When James Parker walks down the mall, residents of Hardy Hall turn his way.

ANGELICA POTTS
“He is the epitome of eye candy.”

BRAD BARBER
So says Angelica Potts, HTV’s weather reporter. Parker pairs his good looks with an outgoing personality. The fact that he’s from South Africa also keeps the ladies listening to his every accented word.
Parker, a freshman exercise science major, isn’t here at HU just to be a chick magnet. He also plays for the Men’s soccer team.

He represents a growing trend – U.S. colleges are recruiting more athletes from foreign countries. HU is no different. It currently has nine international student-athletes on its sports teams for the 2010-11 seasons.
International student-athletes do more than fill out the roster. Men’s soccer coach Russ Lawson says they bring cultural flavor to the field. He’s noticed differences compared to the American style.

COACH RUSS LAWSON
“There’s definitely a difference in styles of play, with regards to the way they move the ball, the way they perceive the game.”

BRAD BARBER
Lawson says that each culture has a different view on what it feels is a good brand of soccer. For example, former HU athletes from Trinidad-Tobago played with a little more flair and were personal in moving the ball, as opposed to the direct and physical approach taken by the American and Canadian players.
Adjusting to American soccer can be difficult. When Parker joined the team this year, he noticed a difference in mentality.

JAMES PARKER
I found that our team here is a little more defensive minded than my team back home. I’ve always been attack-focused, so just being able to think ‘I’ve gotta get back and help defend’ and just that mindset was a big change.

BRAD BARBER
It’s more than just mindset. Parker noticed that the game was played quicker here than back in South Africa.

JAMES PARKER
In America it’s like go-go-go and it’s fast-paced the whole time.

BRAD BARBER
This quicker style affects what he can do when he gets the ball. In South Africa, he had an extra second to think about what he would do. Here he has to know almost before he even gets the ball.
Parker also had difficulty switching to the American field.

JAMES PARKER
The playing fields here in America are very soft, compared to back home. Our fields would be quite firm. So at first here for a good month, my ankles were hurting a lot because obviously the ground is softer so the muscles are being worked more, and after every practice my ankles would hurt so much.

BRAD BARBER
Parker says he had to rest his sore ankles in the chilly Indiana weather. He wasn’t used to the cold after coming from a warmer part of the globe.

JAMES PARKER
To keep yourself warm and to keep your muscles ready was like a new thing for me, I’ve never experienced that.

BRAD BARBER
There is more practice and preparation for games in America than in international soccer, or, as he calls it, football.

COACH RUSS LAWSON
It’s a lot more soccer, a lot more wear and tear on the body and not to mention just the body, but also the mental and spiritual aspect of it.

BRAD BARBER
This physical toll on the body is a trial-by-fire way of seeing if an athlete will make it in America.

JAMES PARKER
That was a big thing, just the amount of work that goes in before a game.

BRAD BARBER
But Parker welcomed the extra soccer into his training.

JAMES PARKER
It was something that I was looking forward to, which is one of the reasons I wanted to come here.

BRAD BARBER
Parker also wanted to come to the U.S. because of how collegiate soccer programs are run here.

JAMES PARKER
Soccer is more professional, like the way that they organize it.

BRAD BARBER
Lawson said that because foreign athletes may have to go home if they lose their scholarships, they often work hard to keep it.

COACH RUSS LAWSON
They know that that’s the carrot out in front of them. In order for them to earn that scholarship and keep their place, we need them to produce.

BRAD BARBER
Parker was a midfielder for the Foresters this season, and recorded one goal from five shots-on-goal. No. 11 was in 16 of the team’s 17 games.

COACH RUSS LAWSON
He thinks the game well. He definitely gets himself into positions and combines well with his teammates.

BRAD BARBER
When he’s on the field, Parker produces for his team – and the HU women watching him.

For the Huntingtonian, this has been Brad Barber reporting.

One comment on “Playing soccer with an accent (audio)

  1. Reply brooke dicicco Jun 4,2013 1:01 pm

    i love james parker.

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