Here is the second Q&A with a St. Francis Brooklyn, last week was with Kelly O’Halloran, who is on the volleyball team. This week it is men’s soccer player Andy Cormack.
Cormack is a 21-year-old international business major that is originally from Plymouth, England. He was named to the preseason Second Team, All-Northeast Conference by the website College Sports Madness last month. Prior to joining the Terriers, Cormack played for the Plymstock United Colts, where he was the 2004-05 Player of the Year, and for Elm United, where he was Player of the Year in 2005-06 as well as 2006-07.
Brooklyn Eagle Sports: So you are from England. How did you end up in Brooklyn at St. Francis?
Andy Cormack: Basically, I was recruited to play soccer. I had some offers and in the end when a team from New York City made me an offer it was a really big deal to me because this is a big city and I wanted to live in a city like that.
BES: Was your plan always to come to America?
AC: I didn’t know really what the future was going to hold for me so I thought that if I moved to America and got a degree then it would be a good opportunities for the future. I wanted to play professional soccer, but I thought getting this degree would help as a backup plan.
BES: Why St. Francis though, was it just because of New York City?
AC: The coaches definitely sold it well to me. The location of the school is really good and the fact that you get to play against some of the top teams likes of UConn.
BES: Were there any other schools that you also considered?
AC: I had a few offers from DC schools. I Can’t remember their names. I remember that Radford in Virginia was one. Obviously I wanted to play Division-I because you get your best opponents and the best soccer.
BES: It sounds like you were pretty set on coming to New York City. Was it an easy decision?
AC: It was a very tough decision actually. I wasn’t too sure about going away from home. My brother moved away when he was the same age, 18, so I spoke to him about it and he encouraged me. He said it was the best option because that’s how you get better jobs and opportunities, by moving.
BES: So after speaking with your brother you knew you were definitely coming here. At that point were you decided on St. Francis yet?
AC: Not yet. I knew that I was definitely going to come here. It was just deciding which school to go to.
BES: What was the process like of trying to find a school?
AC: I went through an agency based in England. They have trial games and they videotaped me and sent the videos out to coaches in America. They get in contact with the coaches that way.
BES: Did St. Francis want you right away after seeing your tape or did that take some time?
AC: Yeah, they were very aggressive and were one of the first colleges to contact me. Right from the start they let me know that they really wanted me and tried the hardest throughout the entire process. That made me really comfortable with them because you don’t want to go somewhere if you aren’t sure if they really want you, especially when you are coming from a different country.
I also liked what they had to offer academics-wise. I wanted to major in sports management, but even though they didn’t have that here, I’m a major in international business and they have worked with me so I can do a minor in sports management.
BES: What was the transition like moving from England?
AC: It was strange, I remember the first couple of months I basically wanted to go home every single day. I was missing home. As the months went on I started to like it here though and now I love it. I’d quite like to stay here after college, but definitely at the start it was very hard.
BES: Was Brooklyn what you expected?
AC: No. It’s definitely nothing like I imagined. The perception of Brooklyn back home is that it’s kind of a rough area. People were worried when I said I was moving here. It’s probably the safest place I’ve ever lived though. I’ve never felt threatened at all since I’ve been here <laughing>.
BES: So the transition to the area was easy?
AC: At first it was hard because the house we live in. All of the guys live in the same place and growing up you’re used to your personal space. You have to get used to it, but that’s the life of a student.
BES: If you’d like to stay here after college does that mean you’ll only look for professional soccer opportunities here or will you be open to moving back to Europe too?
AC: I’m definitely going to try to go professional somewhere and if it’s not here in America then I’ll go back to europe and get something maybe in England.
BES: But ultimately your preference would be to stay here?
AC: Yeah. it’s tough though because I’m international. You need a job to stay here and if soccer is my best option then I’m probably going back to Europe.
BES: What is the difference between soccer back home and the soccer style at St. Francis?
AC: It was a lot different. Back in Europe it’s very technical and here it’s a lot more fast paced. Guys are stronger here too. When I first came here the weight training was real serious and I struggled with it, but now you see the changes in my body shape and the workouts are easier.
BES: What was your visit like? Did you even have a visit before committing?
AC: I didn’t actually come here for a visit, I was coming in blind, which made me very nervous. In a way, I got very, very lucky because it’s definitely the best decision I’ve made in my life. Now I don’t really miss home too much and I try to stay out here as much as I can during the summer.
BES: Wow, so you had no idea what you were walking into. What was the biggest thing that made you take that leap?
AC: It was definitely the talk with my brother. He was living in Germany at the time so I went to visit him and he said, ‘listen you’ve got to do it. You just have to.’ He told me that it was the best decision he made. So that was definitely the deciding factor.
BES: Did you consider moving to other countries? Maybe follow your brother to Germany?
AC: No it was only America or nothing. If I wasn’t in America I’d probably be doing a nine-to-five job somewhere in England right now.
BES: So tell me about the team this season. What are your thoughts?
AC: I’m very optimistic about this season. It’s definitely one of the strongest teams we’ve seen, certainly since I’ve been here. We played UConn last week and we took them right to the wire, we were probably the better team in the second half. We were unlucky with the result in the end, but we were happy with the way we played and it’s definitely a step forward for the rest of the year.
BES: Your first home game at the Brooklyn Bridge Park is coming up. You must be excited to play on that new field.
AC: Oh yeah. It’s a beautiful field. It’s probably one of the most beautiful in the country, if not the entire world. I think we’re going to see a lot of people just passing by who I think are going to stop and watch the game. Hopefully we’ll get some good support because of that. The players, everybody, are really excited about it.
BES: I imagine that’s going to be a pretty big recruitment tool too.
AC: Absolutely. You just have to take them down there. You don’t have to even show them the school. I think it will make a lot of kids minds up right away.
BES: What’s your favorite part of Brooklyn?
AC: I like to go down to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. They show movies down at the park alot, which I like, and they actually started showing Red Bull games down there too. It really is one of the best spots in the city that I’ve seen.
BES: Do you have a favorite place to eat?
AC: Grimaldi’s is my favorite, as it is for most people. Other than that, not particularly, I cook for myself a lot.
Thanks to Andy for taking the time out of his schedule to talk with me and, as always, thanks to David Gansell, director of athletic communications at St. Francis Brooklyn, for helping to assist me in setting up this interview. If you are interested please read Kelly O’Halloran’s interview from last week and check back here next Thursday for another Q&A with a St. Francis student/athlete. The Terriers play again Thursday night in Maryland against the United States Naval Academy. Their first home game at Brooklyn Bridge Park will be on Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 7:00 p.m.