UMFK Men's Soccer: The Home Away from Home

FORT KENT, Me. (WAGM) - In his first year as head coach, Oniqueky Samuels inherits a team not only full of talent, but from all over the world. From Canada to Nigeria, from the U.K. to Jamaica, the University of Maine at Fort Kent has become a haven for international players looking to compete.

"What most international students want is success," Samuels said. "They came here from their specific countries with their set goals: they want to play at the college level and they want a college degree."

Samuels knows the journey all too well, he won a national championship playing for the Bengals and was named to the All-Academic team all four years at UMFK.

"I was a past student here, coming from Jamaica," Samuels said. "I can relate to some of the pressures and struggles and I think the guys can see that."

Senior Lewis Cockburn is a Scotland native, who is playing his last year in Fort Kent. He's going to miss the comradery and community he found on the team.

"We're all in the same boat," Cockburn said. "We're all away from home and we're there for each other. I live with a guy from Spain and a guy from India, the diversity is brilliant."

Soccer being an international sport, each country brings their own unique playing style, which could be a tough to gel on the field, but the Bengals see it as an opportunity to learn.

"Jamaicans, we're fast and physical," captain Rodney Witter said. "But we have guys from Spain and they're very technical, and the U.K. boys have a high intelligence of the game, so we all learn."

The Bengals only have three Americans on the squad. Two of them are transfer students from California. LaSalle Durio was blown away when he arrived on campus and found the strong international community.

"Back home, I'm not used to playing with too many international players," Durio said. "It's a different intelligence out on the field and lots of different styles of play. It's really fun playing with this squad."

The Bengals are 7-3-2 on the season, but are starting to heat up as the season goes on. They have outscored their opponents 19-0 in their last three games. They are back on the field next Monday against the Maine Maritime Academy.