When Kingsley Northcott first set foot on a soccer field in the United States, something was off. The rules were the same, but the crowd was quieter, the shoes were nicer and the feeling was just different.
“In England, you don’t wear Nike, you don’t wear nice brands,” Northcott said. “It’s a whole different atmosphere. You’d be playing in stadiums with tons of people watching you and with tons of people chanting.”
The Lake Washington sophomore moved from England to the United States in August 2004 with his family and, despite differences in the game, he’s fitting in nicely with the American soccer scene.
Northcott plays midfielder for Lake Washington and has become a vital piece for the Kangs. He scored his first goal of the season on April 10 against Eastlake, and he says he’s quickly adjusting to the differences in the game played here.
“Over there, you don’t have homework, you just have soccer to play,” Northcott said. “Everything revolved around soccer. Every kid in England has been brought up to love football.”
In addition to Lake Washington, Northcott also plays club soccer for the Eastside Football Club on the Eastside FC 91 Red team. In March, the team won the state championship over Snohomish United 3-2. Northcott scored two goals in the game.
The win carried added meaning for Northcott because he played for the Snohomish club before transferring to Eastside. Despite leading the team in scoring, Northcott wasn’t getting enough playing time. So he opted to transfer.
Even while playing an extensive club schedule, Northcott and first-year Lake Washington coach Shaun Warner have managed to avoid the club soccer vs. high school soccer pitfalls many teams fall into.
“I’m pretty adamant that when you play with the high school team, your priorities are with the high school team,” Warner said.
Warner said he’ll ease up on Northcott in practice if he has a game coming up soon, but also said Northcott will pay for it at the next practice. “I’m not playing favorites out there,” Warner said.
Warner said Northcott’s greatest strength on the field is his mental game. He remains extremely calm under pressure and has great field vision.
“We’re really excited about his future,” Warner said. “He’s a tremendous player.”
Northcott has always looked up to David Beckham, now of Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy, and plans to play at the next level.
He watches what English “footy” he can, but it’s a little harder to find on TV in America, and there’s still the issue of exactly what to call football. The one played with a pigskin ball, that is.
“I just call it American football now,” Northcott said. “It would get really confusing, and I would say ‘I’ve really got to start changing the way I say it.’”
Northcott and Lake Washington (4-6 overall, 3-4 KingCo 4A) play next on April 25 at Inglemoor (2-7-1, 1-5).