Meet the Athletes: Sam Pollard

DeAndrea Norman , Staff Writer

For sophomore soccer player Sam Pollard, soccer has been a passion his whole life, and he has crossed continents to pursue it.

Born in Manchester, England, Pollard lives in Perth, Australia when not at FMU. He said he began playing soccer at a very young age.

“I’ve pretty much played soccer since I could walk,” Pollard said. “When I was a toddler around like 4 years old, my grandad had me kicking a ball as soon as I could.”

Pollard attributes his love for soccer to the culture in England, which is home to many professional soccer teams and players.

“Growing up in England, it’s pretty much every kid’s dream,” Pollard said. “Playing soccer when they get older so you kind of go into that and it becomes a part of your life.”

Pollard’s favorite soccer player is retired English player Ashley Cole because of his work on and off the field; particularly, the things he has done for the country of England.

Pollard said professional soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo is his biggest inspiration on and off the field.

“He didn’t have anything handed to him, and he’s worked hard his whole life to get where he is today,” Pollard said.

Pollard, a sports management major, said he made the decision to come to FMU after playing soccer in Scotland. 

“I was over in Scotland, playing soccer, and I didn’t enjoy the lifestyle over there,” Pollard said. “Then I got in touch with Ricky Davis, the old assistant FMU coach, and everything just came from there.”

Pollard’s decision to play at FMU has been one he has enjoyed. He said his favorite part about being a student athlete at FMU is being able to play soccer while also attending university.

Pollard said being a member of the FMU soccer team is a great experience because of the diversity.

“There’s the different cultures we’ve got throughout the team,” Pollard said. “Coach Luis, he brought in players from all around the world with different playing styles and different attributes they can bring to the team, so it’s really good.”

Pollard said the biggest adjustment from playing soccer in high school to playing in college has been combining academics along with playing soccer.

“This is my first time doing a sport combined with academics, because back in Australia you don’t,” Pollard said. “It’s two separate things. Like, school is one thing and then your team is another thing, so combining the two together has made it a lot smoother and it’s nicer.”

Pollard, who was named to the 2018-2019 Peach Belt Conference all-conference second team, says he hopes to build off of last year’s success and be named to this year’s PBC all-conference first team.

Pollard is also very optimistic about FMU’s soccer team this year.

“Hopefully, for the team, we can make it past the tournament, win the tournament and get to nationals,” Pollard said.

Pollard said the advice he would give to incoming foreign student athletes would be for them to learn how to manage their time effectively.

“The best thing to be able to do is manage time, because it’s a big difference from our own country,” Pollard said. “As a freshman, you need to be able to learn how to balance your studies as well as playing.”