Thu, Mar


Ancil FarrierLast year’s All-American has suddenly found himself facing international challenges.

Southern Connecticut State men’s soccer standout Ancil Farrier has seen a slight improvement in the quality of his opponents since his debut with his native Trinidad and Tobago national team in the spring, including a friendly against England; and yes, David Beckham.

“It’s been a dream come true,” Farrier said. “I was always thinking about how I might have the opportunity to play for the national team. I can’t really come up with an explanation for how it feels.

“The opponent you’re playing against is no longer a mediocre team, but one of the best teams in the world, with the best players in the world. A week before the game, I was just watching them on the television, and it was a great experience to walk out with guys like Rio Ferdinand and, hopefully, I’ll get called back up again.”

Farrier, a senior defenseman, has earned four international caps with Trinidad and Tobago, but has the spotlight changed him? Fellow senior Igor Santos, who played with Farrier a year before Southern with the Cape Cod Crusaders, doesn’t think so.

“He is still the same guy that I met five years ago,” Santos said. “He is a great player and great friend. He is always committed out there.”

The soft-spoken Farrier just laughs off the attention he receives and considers himself lucky for it. Unlike some athletes who let their sport define them and focus on nothing else, Farrier is grateful for the opportunity to receive an education as well as play soccer.

While one might think that the transition from the island life of Trinidad and Tobago, a country smaller than Connecticut, to SCSU is difficult, it has actually made life easier for Farrier.

“The transition here was not difficult,” Farrier said. “When I was accepted and came to Southern, I had everything I needed from my teammates and Coach (Tom Lang).

“It’s much more difficult over there. When I am here, I just have to focus on two things, and that is go to school and play soccer, so it is much easier not to have to worry about having to work or anything like that. I can just focus on school and soccer.”

Farrier has not let his national team exposure diminish his commitment on the field for Southern. Despite a season that Lang describes as one that has been “disappointing,” Farrier is still looking to take something away from it. The Owls, coming off a 14-2-5 last season, are 5-6-5.

SCSU is a young team, starting six underclassmen, and although Farrier doesn’t consider himself the loudest player on the team, he is still looking to be a leader. He doesn’t let the current season bother him. Instead, he is looking to prepare them for a strong return next season.

“I think the freshmen came into the season thinking the juniors and seniors are going to carry the team, but they are seeing that they have to contribute to the effort,” Farrier said. “Hopefully, they see the mentality to give their all, and they can get it going next year.”

Farrier receives all this attention and looks at all his accolades as an added bonus to him playing soccer. He is humbled by the entire experience. His on-the-field attitude carries over to his natural personality.

When looking at himself, he sees someone who can lead through example. His main concern is with his team first, and when he needs to make a statement, it comes from his presence rather than his voice. When his teammates see that he is playing hard and contributing on the field, that is something they can emulate.

“I think every team that we play against is going into the game feeling that they have to be aware of him, and I think that is a great sign of respect when other teams have to game plan around you,” Lang said. “It shows the respect that others have for him around the league. He’s not a very vocal player, but I think his competitive nature and the way that he plays hard every game sets an example for other players to follow.”

So what’s next for Farrier? The options for a player of his caliber include Major League Soccer, possibly playing for a club team overseas, or continuing with the Trinidad and Tobago national team. It is certainly not an easy decision.

“I’m not sure what I will do, but, hopefully, I’ll be able to go to the next level and play professionally,” Farrier said. “If I get to make the MLS team, that would be great, but it’s always a dream to be playing for your national team, so if I do get called back, I will just continue where I left off before.”

Farrier holds down a solid defense that has recorded seven shutouts this year, but his skill as a player doesn’t stop as a defender. He has the ability to move forward and attack from the back which contributes to his overall proficiency.

Last year, Farrier was tied for fifth in the Northeast-10 Conference with nine goals and was tied for second on the team in assists. This year the goals haven’t been coming as easily, but he is always on the lookout for another scoring chance when the opportunity arises.

“He’s got great perspective of the field when he comes forward,” Santos said. “He’s got the strength and speed to do that. He also has the stamina to do that and still be able to get back and defend.”

SCSU still has a chance to make the conference tournament and make a run there, so Farrier’s future hasn’t begun yet. But wherever he decides to play, that team can be sure they will be getting a committed and versatile player capable of shutting down offenses while creating some offense of his own.