Cameron Saul is an english professional soccer player currently playing for the Greenville Triumph of USL League 1. Growing up in England, Saul played for Tottenham and Luton Town youth academies before jumping the sea to play college soccer at Young Harris College. He then moved to Waldorf University where he became a star forward for the program. He then moved programs again when he went to Lenoir Rhyne University and helped them win their first conference championship in school history. From 2017-2018 he played for Asheville City SC during his offseason. He then signed his first professional contract with the Triumph and helped them reach the finals of the USL League 1 playoffs.
The Cameron Saul Interview
1. Growing up in England, what was your youth career like?
My youth career in England started pretty late. I didn’t actually play for a team until about the age of 10/11 so I was a late starter in that regard. I first played for a Sunday league team called Edmonton Allstars, before being scouting for Tottenham a season after. I was at Tottenham for a year before making the switch to Luton Town. I was fortunate to have some amazing coaching and role models during my youth career, and those people have had a huge influence on my career successes so far.
2. What made you decide to come to the states to play college soccer?
After being released from Luton, I was unsure what to do. A friend of mine from school told me about going to play in America and I looked into it. It looked like it would be a good opportunity for me to get an education and continue playing at a high level. Looking back on it now, it was the best decision I could have made for my soccer career.
3. You originally attended Young Harris College. How was your first collegiate season at Young Harris?
I loved my experience at young Harris. It was just the experience I needed coming to a new country and a new way of life. The school itself is located in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, and the facilities there are top class. On the field however I didn’t play as much as I would have liked, but it didn’t take away from my first year experience. As a result of this lack of playing time, however, I decided to transfer after one year in the program.
4. After a season at Young Harris, you transferred to Waldorf University, where you scored 10 goals in 30 games. How was you experience at Waldorf? What did it teach you as a player?
My Waldorf experience was huge for me. I think I did the biggest amount of growing at the program. Waldorf was a small school with a relatively small time program. I came in and was the only international on the team which was a complete contrast to how life was at young Harris. In my two years at Waldorf I captained the side, and played as a central midfielder. Having such a pivotal role and responsibility really helped me develop other aspects of my game that I wouldn’t have as a role player at young Harris. In my final year at Waldorf we won a conference championship. A first in school history.
5. You transferred to Lenoir Rhyne University for your senior year. How was your time at Lenoir Rhyne?
My senior year at Lenoir-Rhyne was very special. Coming into a program as a senior meant I needed to have an immediate impact. Fortunately my experiences at my previous two institutions allowed for me to relish this challenge. The team has a very good year winning the conference which was a first in school history. I enjoyed playing a big part in that and helped make my experience there very special
6. What was your favorite collegiate experience?
My college career was very special. It is impossible for me to pick a single experience, however I won 3 championships in my time as a college athlete with three different universities. Not many players can say that.
7. What’s your biggest tip for college players looking to make an impact on the field?
I would say anyone in a squad can make an impact if they are willing to be open to criticism, and can follow instructions. In the programs I have played at, it wasn’t the most talented boys that played the most, it was the players who could follow the coaches instructions the best, and learn from their mistakes the quickest.
8. In 2017 and 2018, you played for Asheville City SC of the NPSL. What was the environment at Asheville games like?
The environment at Asheville was amazing and second to none. Off the field we were treated like professionals and on the field we were playing in front of bigger crowds than most USL teams. Their supporter section the ‘south slope blues’ are an incredible bunch. Asheville really has something special going on there, and I am so glad I was able to be apart of that.
9. Who’s your biggest role model and why?
My parents are my biggest role models. The life they gave me growing up, and the sacrifice they put in to get me to where I am cannot be put into words. I am very lucky to have them.
10. How were you found by the Greenville Triumph?
Greenville found me through their community tryouts. The tryouts were in November, and I only found out about them a day or two before I went. I am very happy I did, and the rest is history as they say.
11. How were you feeling after signing your first professional contract with Greenville?
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a professional soccer player. Signing that contract with Greenville was the best feeling in the world. It was a moment I have dreamt of for years, so to finally achieve a dream like that was special to say the least.
12. In the last season with the Triumph, you’ve helped them reach the USL League One finals. Describe the season and what it was like to get your first professional minutes.
The season as a whole was an amazing experience. I learnt so much from the older lads on the team, and was able to grow and develop a lot as a player. Working with John Harkes was also a huge benefit. He has achieved so much in his playing career, so it was great to try and absorb as much knowledge and information from him as possible. On the field my season didn’t go exactly to plan. Injuries really caused my progress to slow down, and hampered my chances to see the field as much as I would have liked. With all this however, I still managed to have a good season overall and contributed to 4 goals and 2 assists.
13. Who’s the best player you’ve ever played against?
14. Coolest stadium you’ve ever played in?
That would have to be Toyota Stadium, the home of FC Dallas and North Texas.
15. What’s your biggest advice for youngsters working to become pro?
My biggest advice would be not to give up, and remember that other coaches and peers opinions on whether you're good enough are merely opinions. So stay focused and never give up if you truly believe you're good enough to be a professional.
16. What’s the biggest misconception about being a professional?
I’d say that people think we’re all rich and wealthy. It’s only the top elite athletes who earn substantial money from being professionals. The rest of us just earn enough to get by and do so because we love the sport so much.
17. What are your main goals for the future?
My first short term goal is that I want to have a 30 goal season. Long term I want to play in the English football league, and I want to play in MLS. Those are my two main goals to achieve before my playing career ends.
18. Any last words for the readers?
Not really haha, but I hope they learnt a little bit about me, and enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed telling my story. Thanks for having me.
Founder, The Sports Court
Thanks Cameron for the amazing interview! Best of luck next season!
photo via https://twitter.com/cameronsaul_