For Santa Rosa Junior College freshman Owen McCabe, a transfer student from Scotland, soccer is everything. On the field, McCabe is known for being vocal during games, making sure his teammates are all on the same page and keeping their spirits up.
McCabe and the Bear Cubs finished with an overall record of 10-7-4 and a conference record of 4-3-3. The team lost in the second round of the playoffs against No. 1 seed Fresno College. McCabe is one of six foreign student athletes on the soccer team, all of whom are pursuing the “American Dream.”
McCabe recently sat down with the Oak Leaf to discuss his soccer career at SRJC, living in Scotland and more.
Q: Explain your life in Scotland and how you started with soccer.
A: I finished school at 16 in Menzieshill. I knew I wanted to start working and coaching. I began working with a school doing elementary work for kids from 18-month-old to 16-years-old who had an interest playing soccer. During that time, I was also playing for a semi-pro soccer team called “Dundee” in Dundee, Scotland. It was a relaxed league. I got to play football with all my friends.
Q: When did you start to play soccer?
A: I began to play when I was only 4-years-old. I was very early to the game. My dad has been there for my entire soccer life.
Q: How was the process of moving to the United States?
A: The process took a while. For about a year to a year-and-a-half I was trying to get everything finalized and get all the accommodations done. When I was about halfway through the process, I told my mom, “I don’t want to do it anymore.” All the waiting was getting to me, but I got into this mindset where I just wanted to finish this.
Q: Why did you move here?
A: You know, all throughout my teenage years I always told my friends, “America is the place I want to go.” I heard of this “American Dream,” and I wanted to get in on it. I was so excited to move here. Just the little things like the weather were something I was looking forward to. In Scotland, it’s cold and wet year round. But, the main reason why I moved here was for the soccer. I wanted a different perspective of how the game was played. I wanted to be with a better talented group of guys.
Q: How did you did you discover SRJC?
A: Someone just told me about the school. So me and my dad sat down and did a lot of research. I reached out to the coach [Marty Kinahan] and started the process. Being in another country, Marty keeps me motivated and it helps a lot.
Q: What was your experience during the Tubbs Fire?
A: Being so close really opened my eyes, and as the first day went on, it was really scary. To see such a great response from the community, it was amazing.
Q: What are the biggest problems with being a foreign student athlete?
A: I really never had any problems. Just learning the different soccer language was the hardest part.
Q: What is the biggest change you saw from your teammates from Scotland and here?
A: The standard of play is 10 times better than back home. It is very competitive here—way more than back home in college. Back home you train twice a week and then have a game on the weekend. Soccer is full-time here, which I really enjoy.
Q: Do you miss Scotland? Do you ever have second thoughts?
A: Of course I miss my friends and family, but at the same time I love it here. I never stop and think what would I be doing if I was back home.
McCabe has another year to play at SRJC, before he can make the move on to a four-year university. McCabe said he would love to stay local because of the great weather. He wants to attend Sonoma State University and continue