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International athletes play major role on SCSU men’s soccer team

09/01/2010 – 12:13

Jeff Nowak

Sports Editor

With last year’s roster including five players born outside of the United States, men’s soccer is Southern’s most globally represented team; a group which includes captain Paul Templeton, whom head soccer coach Tom Lang traveled to Scotland to scout.

“Soccer is a global game, and we want to try and find the best players we can, whether they’re international students [or] domestic students,” said Lang. “In Paul’s case I was fortunate enough to be able to travel over to see him play.”

Templeton, 23, who played soccer for St. Andrew’s Academy in Saltcoats, Scotland, said he thinks that American soccer is more athletic, but the main difference is the passion.

“Soccer is life in Scotland, it’s in their blood,” said Templeton. “I mean it’s family, then probably your religion, then your soccer team.”

At 16, Templeton attended a “Scottish school of sport,” which he said is a specialized college for those studying human performance, and physical education.

Templeton said he always had aspirations of playing soccer in the United States, and was working as a bartender when he came into contact with the EDUSPORT USA program. The program specializes in helping young athletes play collegiate sports in the United States.

According to, the program created by Christopher Ewing, also a Scottish soccer player, is a three-phase approach consisting of initial contact, creation of an academic or athletic profile, along with promotion and management.

“It’s like a double barreled system where although you’re excelling in sport, you’re also excelling academically as well,” said Templeton. “Which is of course vitally important when your playing career ends.”

Templeton said his move to the United States was difficult in the beginning.

“It was a huge transition at first, and my first semester was the hardest, as I think it is for any player that comes to where the culture is slightly different,” said Templeton. “I believe I’ve adapted though, I don’t notice the differences anymore.”

Yoni Feldman was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, but moved with his family to Ramat Gan, Israel when he was two years old.

Feldman, who attended Blich high school, said he had hopes of playing soccer in the United States after graduating, but he was unable to do so because of the mandatory military service required in Israel upon turning 18.

“I served in the Israeli defense force for three years,” said Feldman. “I was released when I was about 22 years old, and then I was working as a personal trainer for about two years before coming here.”

Feldman said he was considering going to school in Israel, but one of his friends began the process of coming to the United States, and “the magic,” of the idea came back to him.

Feldman, 25, said he was looking into playing for division I schools, but he was too old to be considered.

“One of my friends who did this process a couple of years ago [at] Hartford University helped me send some letters all over the United States,” said Feldman. “I got the best offer from Southern.”

Feldman said the change, similar to Templeton’s, was difficult to get used to at first.

“The first day I arrived was the first day I have seen snow in my life,” said Feldman. “The coldest day we get in Israel where I live is maybe around the 50s, 45 degrees, and the first adjustment I had to make was the weather — the cold, I wasn’t used to it.”

Feldman said he had a working understanding of English, but he has had to refine his use of the language in his time here.

Feldman said he still makes some makes grammar mistakes, and there are times in class when he does not understand words and he has to use the context they are in to understand them, but he said his teachers have always been very helpful when it came to this.

Templeton and Feldman said they agreed about their classes in at least one aspect: They were more difficult in their respective countries.

“I think everything is multiple choice here,” said Templeton. “I’ve never sat a multiple choice test in my life before I came here.”

Feldman said he never went to a university of higher education in Israel, but some of the high school courses he took were more difficult than what he has taken at Southern so far.

“I think the professors [in Israel] are more strict with the students in class, and also with homework assignments,” said Feldman. “It was harder to get higher marks than it is here.”

Feldman and Templeton both said as far as soccer goes, they would like to build on the team’s success from last year, which ended with back-to-back losses.

With the departure of senior captain Sean O’Brien, Templeton said he is going to have to step up and be more “accountable” for the team.

“We appoint a new captain in the fall, but obviously serving for longer I know what it takes, I know what’s expected from the coach,” said Templeton, “I relish it, I enjoy captaining the team here.”

Lang said the Southern soccer team has had a history of recruiting and utilizing foreign players, and part of the reason is that soccer is the predominant sport in many foreign countries.

Another member of the team, Julian Myers-Antiaye is from Croydon, England, and closes out the foreign regiment of this year’s team.

“They have an opportunity to go see more live games, they have an opportunity to read about it everyday in the newspapers,” said Lang, “ but there is still an environment over here in the states where soccer is very competitive and taken very seriously. We try to recruit and try to find players that have grown up serious about playing the game.”

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