Student-athletes from overseas representing the Owls title

Edgar Ayala – Sports Writer

From England, Spain, Australia, Norway, Bermuda and Denmark, Southern’s student-athletes have traveled across the world to New Haven to continue their athletic careers and represent the Owls.

However, it’s not all that easy to leave your friends and family behind to attend a school thousands of miles away from home. This was the case for Southern’s international student-athletes.  

Natasha Fitzpatrick, an Australian native on the women’s track and field team, said she completed a year and half of college in Australia, before a friend introduced her to the idea of studying and playing overseas.  

“There was a big culture difference when I first arrived to America,” said the junior, Fitzpatrick, “which took some time to get used to. There was also a huge difference in the way the school system was set up, compared to what I was accustomed to back home.”  

Since arriving to America and to SCSU, Fitzpatrick said she has “enjoyed” the experience so much that she encourages other international athletes to do the same. She added that she would recommend Southern to any student-athlete looking to play overseas.  

Additionally, Fitzpatrick said there was one reason behind her decision to come to the states and attend Southern.  

“I’ve always wanted to travel,” said Fitzpatrick, “and being able to study, compete in athletics and explore the world at the same time, seemed like an opportunity I couldn’t miss.”

Mitchel White, an international student-athlete from England, said he didn’t have trouble adjusting into a new country and new school upon coming to the U.S. He added that the soccer program’s history, along with Coach Tom Lang, made his decision to join Southern a lot easier.  

“This is only my first semester, and I love it here,” said White. “I’ve met some great people, and have had a lot of support since day one of coming to America. I settled in well with the team, and enjoyed the standard of play within the soccer program.”

White noted that the most difficult part about playing soccer in America was learning the different divisions. In England, colleges are not split into Division I, II, III, and the NCAA is nonexistent.  

While White had trouble understanding the divisions and conferences, other international athletes struggled to learn America’s native language. Vicky Conde, born and raised in Spain, came to U.S. at 21-years-old. She wanted to make her dream of playing soccer at the college level a reality.  

“I wanted to play soccer at a university and I wanted to graduate,” said Conde on coming to America. “I also wanted to learn English. When I was in Spain I knew a little bit, basic high school, but I learned this year by attending classes and on the field with my teammates.”

Conde is the only international student-athlete from Spain that attends Southern. She joins teammate, Betti Worth (England), as the two international athletes that make up the women’s soccer team.  

The men’s soccer program has the most overseas players with five. Markus Jacobsen is the only student-athlete from Norway, and Chae Brangman is from Bermuda.  

Three players are from up England: White, Louis Greenway-Tambini and Sean Black.   

From Australia is Fitzpatrick of the cross country and track team. Just this year, the men’s basketball program recruited freshman Toby Christensen from Denmark.  

Altogether, a total of nine international student-athletes coming overseas to defend the Owls’ badge, making for a truly diverse representation.  

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