Joshua Phelps is an Australian soccer player currently playing for Tormenta FC of USL League One. Growing up in Australia, Phelps made the move over to America for collegiate soccer where he played for Thomas College and University of North Carolina at Pembroke where he became both a captain and assistant coach. After a highly successful college career, Phelps saw himself both working and playing for Tormenta while they were in the PDL (now USL League Two). When the club made the move up to League One and became a fully professional side, Phelps was the first professional singing in club history. A strong and versatile center back, Phelps is a very talented player and a true leader.
1. Growing up in Australia, what was your youth career like?
In Australia, youth football was still pretty raw, our country as a whole was still grasping not only the game but the culture. At the time it was also called soccer, it wasn’t until 2005 that it was changed to football I believe.
2. You made the move to America to attend Thomas College in Maine. How were you initially recruited by the Terriers?
Like most internationals coming to the US, I had very little idea about divisions, conferences, or even the structure of the collegiate system at all. So I used a recruiting service, and they got me in touch with a few colleges who offered me scholarships. After talking to the coaches and looking at their facilities, I clicked with the head coach and decided to make the move.
3. How was your transition from Australia to America?
It had its ups and downs for sure, some experiences made it tough, and others that bring extreme joy — all of which have helped shape the person I am today.
4. What were your two years with the Thomas Terriers like?
They were great, we had a big freshman class and a great team, I was named Rookie of the Year and first-team all-conference and all-tournament. In my second season I received the same accolades in first-team all-conference and all-tournament teams, I enjoyed my time.
5. After two years at Thomas College, you transferred to the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. What was your reasoning behind the move from Thomas to UNC-Pembroke?
I had set out to achieve everything I had wanted to, I felt like it was a good time for me to move on to a new challenge. I also didn’t mind the move south, the heat was a warm welcome.
6. At Pembroke, you were the captain and the student coach assistant. What do these two roles mean to you both as a player and as a person?
Being named a captain is always something I have respected and taken on to my best ability. It forces you to grow in areas that might not specifically relate to aspects of the field, and how to invest in relationships. Being an assistant coach gives you a broader perspective of the game, a different view, this was another way I could learn more about the game from a different perspective.
7. Overall. How was your college experience?
It was great, I enjoyed the full-on lifestyle of school and sport but I’m glad that now all I have to focus on is football.
I believe the US is second to none in collegiate setups around the world for sports — that’s the reason I took on this journey.
8. After college, you played two years in the then PDL for South Georgia Tormenta FC. How was your time in South Georgia?
My time in South Georgia has been great, the owners have invested a lot of time and effort to make sure the environment was class. The community had also embraced me and made me feel welcome, I loved that.
9. When Tormenta FC made the step up to USL League One, you were the club's first-ever signing. What did it mean to you to be the first signing in club history?
It was huge for me, being not only the clubs' first-ever signing but USL league One first-ever signing was something that I wasn’t aware of until it happened, I was focused on the football side of things and this was a nice little bonus. Something to tell the grandkids one day haha.
10. How was the step up from PDL to USL League One?
Our conference in the PDL was always a strong one, but League One has done a great job of finding clubs that can put together a quality team in growing cities, this together with clubs with MLS teams, like Orlando City B and Toronto FC II, ensure that the league has a high standard!
11. Overall, how was this last season with South Georgia?
It was great, we came out the gates flying and were amongst the top of the table for the majority of the first half, we, unfortunately, had a lot of key players injured which hindered our success on the back end of the season, but all teams will have injuries, it’s apart of the game, it’s about how you can adapt and find ways to win.
12. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
1) Have a beginners or growth mindset. Come into each day, each training session, each film session, each sport psychology session with a mindset of being open to new ideas and philosophies, and being willing to learn.
2) Leave your ego at the door.
3) Believe in yourself, one coaches opinion doesn’t define you.
13. If you could sit down and eat dinner with any three people in this world. Who would they be and why?
14. What are your main goals for the future?
To play football at the highest level, for as long as possible!
15. Any last words for the readers?
Fall in love with the process, not the title. Have discipline in your routines and stay 10 toes down — be where your feet are. These are important details for you to
Achieve your goals.
Big thank you to Joshua for the amazing interview! Wishing you the best of luck next season!
photo via https://www.instagram.com/joshuaphelps7