Athlete of the Week: Joe Francis

An exclusive interview with Joe Francis details how far he has traveled to be on the men’s soccer team, which has earned him a spot as Athlete of the Week.

Lily Goodfellow, Sports Writer

Provide by COD Athletic Department

Athlete of the Week: Joe Francis

Lily Goodfellow, Sports Writer

Sport: Soccer


Lily Goodfellow: What position do you play?

Joe Francis: Striker. I used to be a midfielder but the college decided to put me out front as a striker.


LG: What year are you in school and what are you studying?

JF: This is my second year at the college, but my first year as a soccer player. So I’m a freshman at the soccer team and I am studying for a biomedical engineering technician Associate’s degree.


LG: What is your hometown?

JF: My hometown is a little village in England called Hullbridge. It’s about 40 minutes from London.


LG: Is that near Rayleigh?

JF: It is very near Rayleigh.


LG: My granddad is from there!

JF: My high school was in Rayleigh. He probably went to the same high school. What a small world!


LG: What made you decide to come to the United States?

JF: Okay, that is a good question. I met my girlfriend in Ireland five years ago. She was there for a weekend visiting and it was her first time out of the USA. We did long distance for three years and in 2020 I got my student visa here in Chicago. So the long story short is my girlfriend made me come across the pond.


LG: How old were you when you started playing soccer?

JF: I started playing soccer when I was 5 years old. 


LG: Are there any differences in playing soccer in England and here, other than calling it football?

JF: There is one big difference, and especially at college, that’s the full time whistle blows bang on the 90 minutes. In England the extra time would overlap, so it would go for an extra two or three minutes. But here it’s the countdown – you get the ten seconds and then the whistle goes and that’s it.


LG: What is your favorite football club?

JF: My family’s favorite Premier League club is West Ham United. It’s probably one of the closest clubs to Rayleigh and the Hullb

ridge area.


LG: What do you miss most about England?

JF: Sausages. I can’t get a good sausage here. They have good sausages, but they’re not the same as the flavors I’m used to in England.


LG: How did the team do this season?

JF: This season we’ve done well. On Sunday we managed to get through to the playoffs. So we’ve got our first playoff game next Sunday.


LG: How do you and your teammates make practice fun?

JF: There’s a lot of jokes. There’s a lot of jokes towards me and England stereotypes. It’s all light-hearted.


LG: Who has been your biggest supporter?

JF: Other than my girlfriend, I would say the coach. The coach gave me a lot of minutes, considering I’m nearly ten years older than the rest of the team. It’s been nice to play as many minutes as I have.


LG: Have you ever disagreed with a referee decision and how did you handle it?

JF: I have at the moment disagreed, but in the game you just have to carry on. Once a decision has been made there’s never been a scenario where you manage to persuade the referee to change his mind. It’s the rules of the game, so in the heat of the moment you just want to carry on and play.


LG: Where do you see yourself in five years?

JF: Hopefully still in the U.S and hopefully in a job in my current Associate’s degree that I’m studying. And touch wood, still playing football at whatever level it may be.


LG: What one word best describes you?

JF: Very good question. I’d say I’m passionate about whatever I’m trying to achieve. So passionate would be the one word.

LG: Thank you, Joe! Good luck in the playoffs!