Andrew Farrell brings lessons from Peru with him to Revs

Andrew Farrell brings lessons from Peru with him to Revs
March 26, 2013, 10:00 am
Share This Post

What can the revs expect this season from Andrew Farrell?

Before he was the number one pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, Farrell admits he was far from a star player in Peru. In fact, he reached a point when he questioned whether or not he would be able to continue playing soccer.

FOXBORO—Andrew Farrell couldn’t understand why his parents were selling his toy castle.

At five years old, the reality of the move didn’t sink in until he saw his favorite possession sold in a massive yard sale. Farrell’s family was relocating from Louisville, Kentucky to Lima, Peru, where his parents were going to work as Presbyterian missionaries. Everything had to go before the family left.

“They had to get rid of everything,” the New England Revolution defender recalled. “I had this really cool castle and they sold it. I was so mad. I never let them forget that (laughs).”

15 years ago Farrell moved to South America and spent the next 10 years honing his soccer skills in Peru. He had begun playing in the United States and fell in love with it in his new country.

There, soccer was accessible nearly 24 hours a day. Farrell and his friends played in the street or at the park across from his home. They didn’t need much to get a pickup game going – sometimes all it took was a ball, a few rocks, and a passion for the sport.

“They play soccer there all the time,” he explained. “I played soccer 24-7 there. I liked it because it was just fun. No matter when I was doing it, if I had free time or anything, there you could always have a soccer ball and four rocks and you could always have a game going. It was just a way of living. The passion they have for soccer is incredible.”

Soccer was also a common tie that helped Farrell make friends and become part of the culture. Because he moved at such a young age, he was able to learn the Spanish language easily. Farrell first attended a Peruvian school and then the Colegio Franklin D. Roosevelt (The American School of Lima). The rest of the transition fell into place on the field.

“With soccer, I got integrated into the group,” he said.

Part of the group, yes, but not the standout. Not yet, at least.

Before he was the number one pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, Farrell admits he was far from a star player in Peru. In fact, he reached a point when he questioned whether or not he would be able to continue playing soccer.

“I didn’t get that much playing time when I was in Peru, I came off the bench a couple times,” he said. “Then I had growing pains in my knee (when I was 15). For three weeks I was like, ‘Am I going to keep playing soccer?’ That was kind of a down time because I didn’t know what was going to happen.”

Before Farrell had long to ponder his future in Peruvian soccer, his family relocated back to the United States. His older siblings had graduated high school and were planning to attend college in Kentucky, and his parents got new jobs at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville.

After leaving his favorite toy behind on the first move, Farrell had to leave his dog, a Siberian Husky, with family friends in Peru. At 15, he returned to his hometown.

Farrell had been gone from Kentucky for 10 years and so much had changed without him there.

“I went to public high school (Atherton High School) for three years and that was crazy,” he said. “The music was a lot different. It was interesting. The fast food everywhere, people were bigger, not as good food, so that was a big change. But soccer helped me.”

He continued, “My high school was pretty cultural. Our team had 10 different nationalities on the soccer team. That was easy to transition into it.

“The stuff off the field was kind of hard. I wasn’t really social. I didn’t really go out or hang out with friends. I had good friends but on the weekends I’d either play soccer or hang out with my family. I didn’t really go to parties or the movies. I didn’t notice how much I didn’t do until I got to college, but it was fine. I got by and now it’s helped me get here.”

One of the biggest changes Farrell faced was the drastic difference in the interest level in soccer. While the sport reigned in Peru, it didn’t get top billing in Kentucky. Not even close.

“(The most challenging part of moving back to America) was just knowing soccer wasn’t the biggest sport in the country,” he said. “I didn’t care how many people came to our games, but just getting the opportunity to showcase my ability, that was kind of sad. Obviously it’s growing and I think I picked the right spot to go to college (The University of Louisville) and it helped me get to where I am now.”

Regardless of how many people were in attendance, all eyes were soon turning to Farrell. In his first season at Atherton, his sophomore year, he was voted Best Newcomer. The following two seasons he was named team MVP, and earned all-district and all-state honors as a senior.

In order to attain those accomplishments, he had to adjust his game to the style of play in the United States.

“The Peruvian culture is a lot more laid back,” Farrell explained. “When I was there I was more of an attacker, so I just liked to dribble and do all this other stuff and I wasn’t really focused on being solid for the full 90 (minutes). It was more of a game there. When I got back to the states, obviously you have to go to college and you have to play well and make a professional team. Here, I’ve got to be a little more disciplined, but sometimes I have a little fun on the field. I think I was a little more laid back there.”

Away from Louisville for most of his life, Farrell made an impression in his hometown. He played on a Cardinals team that made the NCAA Tournament each of his three seasons in college and was named a 2012 NSCAA first-team All-America honoree and Big East Defensive Player of the Year in his junior (and final) season.

In January, the Revolution selected Farrell with the first pick in the MLS SuperDraft. He has made yet another move, this time to New England, and is embracing his new home while taking a piece of his years in Peru with him.

“I think something Peruvians are is really humble,” he said. “You take advantage of every opportunity and work hard because you never know when it’s not going to be there. Also, I’m laid back, I like to have fun, I’m pretty loud.”

The Revolution welcome his hardworking yet easygoing approach to the locker room. Following their home opener on March 23, Farrell engaged with many of his teammates after the game, always with a smile across his face.

“He’s a funny guy,” said Diego Fagundez. “It’s nice to have someone like him in the locker room who makes everyone laugh. You might have a bad day coming from home and he’ll cheer you up and make you happy. … On the field he tells the defense how to do good things and he tries to create chances. … It’s great to have him here.”

Farrell will turn 21 on April 2. After going from Louisville to Lima and back in the past 15 years, he looks forward to the next chapter as an MLS player in New England.

“(I never second guessed my decision to play soccer because) I love the sport,” he said. “It’s not even like a job really to me, it’s having fun.”