Cornwall and McLean of Northern Colorado FC share their experiences as first signatories

WINDSOR — If anyone sees an Aussie man walking around in a cowboy hat, don’t worry, it’s just Northern Colorado FC’s Lachlan McLean embracing Weld County culture.

Mayor John Gates said earlier this year that the annual Greeley Stampede is one of the city’s most unique events. Although it might seem obvious that he would say that – it’s his job to create buzz in the community, after all – the Aussie agreed.

“Yeah, we don’t have that at all. Horses and rodeos and shit? laughs McLean. “I even bought myself a cowboy hat. What am I doing?”

McLean and defender Rob Cornwall were the first players to sign in the inaugural team, and they have already had a wonderful experience.

The striker spent seven years in the United States. He came to America to pursue a college career after things didn’t quite work out the way he wanted to return home.

“I was one of the only people in that upper echelon of players who missed a peek with an A-League team,” McLean said. The A-League is the equivalent of Major League Soccer in the United States. “I was looking for other ways to become a professional player.”

McLean’s “best pal” was already attending college in the United States, so he decided to do the same. College is an opportunity to get a taste of working life and improve athletically, while graduating and still being a kid, he said.

He’s been in the US for seven years and really enjoyed it. McLean took his trip to Colorado in 2019 and fell in love with the state, saying he had some of the best times of his life.

“Honestly, I never really looked back after that,” McLean said. “It was a big learning process, sure, but it was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

McLean said there are a lot of differences between America and Australia, aside from the Stampede.

Regarding Weld County, in particular, he noted the large Hispanic population and the food that goes with it. McLean loves Mexican food and was impressed with the places here.

Overall the food is different and the Australian higher education system is not the same. More than anything, however, McLean loves passion.

It doesn’t even have to be a professional sport. He talked about moviegoers, minor league baseball fans, and high school or college football in the South.

“You will always find someone who is passionate about something. Australia certainly has that, but it’s much less; people are more “going with the flow,” McLean said. “It’s almost as if the United States wants to be the best at everything. It can be good or bad, but I think I like it. This means they always invest time and money, and people support and support just about every facet of everything in life.

Midfielder Stefan Lukic of Serbia said in an interview for another article that he had no negative experience with anyone in Colorado. Everyone has been friendly.

Cornwall is a rookie in the United States. He was the first athlete to sign with Northern Colorado – McLean was the second – and hails from Dublin, Ireland.

“I like my potatoes and potatoes, and I adapt to a lot of rice,” Cornwall said of the one difference that came to mind. Maybe some locals can steer him towards top notch potatoes.

Other than that, he feels like things are similar, at least with the team.

“Personality-wise, I find everyone is the same,” Cornwall said. “If you’re a nice person, no matter where you come from, you’ll always be a nice person. I think that’s why everyone clicked.

His list was much shorter than McLean’s – whom he jokingly called a “fake Aussie” – and he didn’t attend the Stampede. In Cornwall’s defense he was busy.

Unlike McLean and some of his other teammates, Cornwall has been in the professional ranks for 10 years, playing with teams around the world. He signed his first pro contract as a teenager in Ireland and is working to complete his studies.

“I tried to go to college for a few weeks. It’s a course that my mother chose,” Cornwall said. “It was, like, IT; I hated. I did not understand. »

He decided that wasn’t what he wanted to do and left college. Instead, he gambled and did odd jobs. In the past two years, however, he has decided to pursue studies in strength and conditioning. It should be nearing the end, assuming there are no major setbacks.

“I’ll do it, then I’ll do my coaching badges,” he said. “I started the study late.”

be the first

More important than just living in the United States are player roles in the Hailstorm.

Prior to signing with the Hailstorm, McLean frequented Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and was a member of the Greenville Triumph. He bonded with Northern Colorado head coach Éamon Zayed, who was with the Chattanooga Red Wolves at the time.

Cornwall was with Bohemian FC in Ireland when former teammate Zayed called about the club.

Zayed told them about plans not just for the Future Legends Complex franchise. Cornwall said he saw the plans for the project and “signed off immediately”.

Both players wanted to be part of the build from the ground up – literally, because Future Legends is still under construction.

“Being part of the beginning of everything is pretty cool. What you do as an individual and as a team in this first year will be in the history books, so it’s really special for me, really special for just about everyone on the team,” McLean said. “We know that when we put our seals on at the end of this year, it will be the first year in Hailstorm’s history, and I think it’s pretty surreal to be part of this group.”

The Hailstorm beat Real Salt Lake early in the season, giving the franchise its first victory against an MLS team. It has also been competitive against other USL League One teams.

He is still working on the pitch and with the home complex, Cornwall said, but things are still going well. The goals of making the playoffs and hopefully winning a title remain a priority, and the team is made up of good guys who all want it.

“I think the main part of football, for our football team, is the culture. I think this team has a great culture. Everyone is really nice. It’s a good community and we get along really well” Cornwall said. “It’s a big part of playing well. Obviously the results weren’t right at the start, but, look, we’re a new team. It’s going to take some time to gel.” , and it’s also all different cultures playing with each other. There’s Irish, English, Australian, Asian, American. It’ll take a while, but it’s starting to click.

Hailstorm’s next game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday at Forward Madison. He will face the Richmond Kickers at 7 p.m. on August 2, but the location has not been determined.

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