Northern Colorado FC’s Cornwall and McLean share their experiences as first-time signers

WINDSOR — If anyone sees an Aussie walking around in a cowboy hat, don’t worry, it’s just Northern Colorado FC’s Lachlan McLean embracing Weld County culture.

Mayor John Gates said earlier this year that the annual Greeley Stampede is one of the city’s most unique events. While it might seem obvious that he would say that – after all, it’s his job to cheer up the community – the Australian agreed.

“Yes, we don’t have that at all. Horses and rodeos and s—t?” said McLean, laughing. “I even bought a cowboy hat. What am I doing?”

McLean and defender Rob Cornwall were the first players signed for the opening team and they have already had a wonderful experience.

The forward has spent seven years in the United States. He came to America to pursue a college career after things didn’t quite pan out the way he’d hoped back home.

“I was one of the few people in this top echelon of players who missed a glimpse of an A-League team,” McLean said. The A-League is the United States Major League Soccer equivalent. “I’ve been looking for other ways to become a professional player.”

McLean’s “best bud” was already attending college in the States, so he decided to do the same. College is an opportunity to get a feel for professional life and improve at athletics while getting a degree and still being a kid, he said.

He has lived in the US for seven years and has really enjoyed it. McLean made his trip to Colorado in 2019 and fell in love with the state, stating he’s had some of the best moments of his life.

“I honestly never really looked back after that,” McLean said. “It was certainly a great learning process, but it was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

McLean said that apart from the stampede, there are many differences between America and Australia.

Regarding Weld County, he particularly noted the large Hispanic population and accompanying food. McLean loves Mexican food and was impressed with the places here.

Overall the food is different and the Australian higher education system is not the same. More than anything, though, McLean loves passion.

It doesn’t even have to be a professional sport. He talked about movie fans, minor league baseball fans, and high school or college football in the South.

“You will always find someone who has a passion for something. Australia definitely has that, but it’s much less pronounced; People are more like ‘going with the flow,'” McLean said. “It’s almost like the US wants to be the best at everything. This can be good or bad, but I think I like it. It means they are always investing time and money, and the people behind and supporting almost every facet of life.”

Midfielder Stefan Lukic of Serbia said in an interview for another article that he hasn’t had a negative experience with anyone in Colorado. Everyone was friendly.

Cornwall is a newcomer to the States. He was the first athlete to sign with Northern Colorado – McLean was the second – and hails from Dublin, Ireland.

“I like my potatoes and potatoes, and I’m getting used to a lot of rice,” Cornwall said of the one difference that came to mind. Maybe a few locals can point him in the direction of top quality potatoes.

Otherwise, he feels things are similar, at least with the team.

“Personally, I think everyone’s the same,” Cornwall said. “If you’re a nice person, no matter where you’re from, you’ll still be a nice person. I think that’s why everyone just clicked.”

His list was much shorter than McLean’s – whom he jokingly dubbed a “fake Aussie” – and he did not attend the stampede. In Cornwall’s defense, he’s been busy.

Unlike McLean and some of his other teammates, Cornwall has been in the pro ranks for 10 years and plays with teams around the world. He signed his first professional contract as a teenager in Ireland and is working towards completing his education.

“I tried to go to college for a couple of weeks. It was a course my mum took,” Cornwall said. “It was like computer science; i hated it I didn’t understand any of it.”

He decided that wasn’t what he wanted to do and dropped out of university. Instead, he gambled and did some side jobs. However, in recent years he decided to pursue a degree in strength and conditioning. He should be nearing the end, provided there are no major hiccups.

“I’ll do that, then I’ll do my coaching badges,” he said. “I started studying late.”

be the first

More important than the simple life in the United States are the players’ roles in Hailstorm.

Before signing with Hailstorm, McLean attended Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and was a member of the Greenville Triumph. He linked with Northern Colorado head coach Éamon Zayed, who was with the Chattanooga Red Wolves at the time.

Cornwall was in Ireland with Bohemian FC when Zayed, a former team-mate, called about the club.

Zayed didn’t just tell them about the plans for the Future Legends Complex franchise. Cornwall said he saw plans for the project and “signed on immediately”.

Both players wanted to be there from the ground up – literally, since Future Legends is still a work in progress.

“Being part of the beginning of everything is pretty cool. What you accomplish in that first year as an individual and as a team is going to go down in the history books, so it’s really special to me, really special to pretty much everyone on the team,” McLean said. “We know when we put our stamp on it later this year it will be the first year in Hailstorm history and I think it’s quite surreal to be a part of this group.”

The Hailstorm defeated Real Salt Lake earlier in the season and gave the franchise its first win against an MLS team. It was also competitive against the other rosters in USL League One.

It’s still working on things on the field and with the home complex, Cornwall said, but things are still good. The goals of making the playoffs and hopefully winning a title remain in focus and the team is made up of good guys all wanting that.

“I think the most important part of football for our football team is the culture. I think this team has a great culture. Everyone is really nice. It’s a good community and we get along really well,” Cornwall said. “It’s a big part of playing well. Of course the results didn’t quite go our way from the start, but listen, we’re a new team. It will take time to gel and it is also all different cultures playing with each other. There are Irish, English, Australians, Asians, Americans. It’s going to take some time, but it’s starting to click.”

The next Hailstorm game is scheduled for Saturday at 6:00 p.m. at Forward Madison. It will be played against the Richmond Kickers on August 2 at 7pm, but the location is yet to be determined. Northern Colorado FC’s Cornwall and McLean share their experiences as first-time signers

James Brien

24ssports is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button