Cold, rainy and windy make for a typical day in Dunfermline, Scotland. What else makes for a normal day here? Well, football of course. And you could find Andrew Ritchie, a native of Perth, Scotland, braving the conditions to play his favorite game.
New to campus at PLNU this fall, Ritchie, a red shirt on the men’s soccer team, is a year removed from running around the soaked pitch of Dunfermline Athletica FC.
George Williamson’s family goes to the same church as Ritchie’s family. George Williamson, director of worship ministries at PLNU, discussed PLNU with Ritchie after he decided he wanted to attend a university in the United States. His visit sealed the deal.
“I just wanted to be able to do something after my career,” Ritchie said. “Coming to Point Loma was the best option because I could play football and have an education.”
Although Ritchie is a full member of the soccer team, he is unable to play this year due to NCAA rules disallowing a student-athlete to play the year after they finish playing professionally. Regardless, Ritchie still makes an impact on his team.
“He’s always positive and always the one talking. Right when he came in, he made a difference from the start,” said freshman teammate Mitch Wheelon.
Head coach Phil Wolf believes that Ritchie will play quite the role in the coming years.
“To have a player that has grown up in the youth system of a professional club is great for our team because of the knowledge and understanding of the game that he brings to the table,” Wolf said.The Scotsman believes he can really help the team.
“I believe that having played professionally gives me an advantage. It gives me a lot of confidence going into the games because I know I have been at a level that most of the guys haven’t been,” said Ritchie. “I want to win really badly and I will do whatever it takes to do that.”
That desire to win was in some way influenced by the style of play he learned across the pond, which is different from the style here in the states. He hopes that that kind of attitude will carry over to his PLNU teammates.
“The game in Scotland is a wee bit more physical and aggressive because people want to win so badly,” said Ritchie.
With four years of eligibility left for Ritchie, the coaching staff is excited for the future of the team and hopeful that he can bring some of that intensity he learned in Scotland.
“I think Andy is going to be an excellent player for us here during his time at Point Loma, and I believe that he will have a very positive impact on our team on and off the field,” Wolf said.