Jan. 6, 2017Moxham's New Opportunity
PITTSBURGH - Prior to August 16, 2016, freshman defender Tom Moxham had never stepped foot in Pittsburgh, let alone the United States, but after a few months he felt right at home.
"Being from overseas, I obviously didn't know anyone coming in," Moxham said. "The people here are so welcoming and they take you in as your own. That really helped me adjust to everything."
Prior to making the move to the States from Plymouth, England, Moxham had the opportunity to play in front of scouts from American colleges to other professional clubs. After seeing the list of interested teams, he decided it would be best to play soccer for a college in England. His time at Hartpury College was short-lived as he received a phone call from Pitt men's soccer head coach Jay Vidovich.
"Soccer is a global game," Vidovich said. "As we're building our program, that is something we're trying to bring into our locker room as well. As we continue to grow the culture here, someone like Tom, with his experience and passion for the game, will only help us grow."
Moxham had an unusually tough start to his American collegiate career as he was sidelined for the first couple weeks of the season due to health issues. However, Moxham described the situation as a blessing in disguise, giving him time to settle into his new country, team and school.
"I didn't know anything about Jay or American college soccer," Moxham said. "The first time we spoke, he laid it all down for me. He explained to me what they were trying to do here at Pitt and I just wanted to be part of what was happening moving forward. They spoke very highly of me and I felt welcomed to the program."
As time went on, Moxham became more and more pleasantly surprised with all his new university had to offer, including his new coach.
Since 2000, Vidovich has produced 29 MLS players. Moxham's goal? To become a professional soccer player.
"At the end of the day, I want to be a pro footballer and that's what drove me to come here," Moxham said. "So as I'm here and hearing about the teams that Jay has worked with and what he's done for the players he's worked with, it's incredible to me. My focus is to be a professional footballer and Jay is the guy that can do that for me."
Besides landing with a coach that has a remarkable resumé, Moxham was overwhelmed by American college soccer. The teams, fans, facilities, training and staff are unlike anything he's ever experienced.
With all of the tools set in place, Moxham looks forward to being a part of something greater than himself in building a notable soccer program.
"I know teams have this image of us that you can come here, get a win and then go home," he said. "Now, teams will come here and know that they are in for a game. It's not the same as it used to be and that's exciting for me to be a part of. I want to win as many games as I can. We're going on the pitch to win games."
Moxham and the Panthers are back on campus and ready to prepare for the 2017 season.
"I just want the season to start," he said. "I can't wait to start playing games again and see what we can do next season."
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