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National Championship Success was “Incredible”

National Championship Success was “Incredible”

15th April 2019

Client James Kirkham won the NCAA DII Men’s Soccer National Championship in 2018 and has described the success as “incredible”.

The forward, who is majoring in Business, played 23 games last season. He picked up his championship ring in a ceremony alongside his teammates last week.

Barry University finished second in the Sunshine State Conference. The Buccaneers qualified for the national tournament, for the first time in history, with an overall record of 16-4-3.

After making history, on more than one occasion in 2018, Kirkham spoke about the experience, going all the way and becoming champions.

“The whole journey was incredible,” Kirkham said. “I mean, I’ve never flew to an away game before. It’s not something you do in England.

“To go on numerous away trips, across the US, was so much fun. The level of competition has been phenomenal and the professionalism is second to none.”

He continued: “I’ve never felt as much joy, on the pitch, as I did when the final whistle went in the final.

“It’s such an intense season. Games come thick and fast and to get through it all as champions was the most amazing feeling.”

National Tournament success for first time in program history

Barry entered the National Tournament in the Second Round. They beat Spring Hill College 4-1 before seeing off Lynn University, 4-2 on penalties.

The Buccaneers edged past Lander University 2-1 in the quarter-finals with Kirkham providing the assist – a cross from the left – for the winning goal.

Another victory on penalties followed in the semi-finals. Barry, after a goalless draw in normal time, won 5-4 in the shoot-out to progress through to the final. Kirkham scored the first spot-kick for the Buccaneers.

West Chester University took the lead in the game, but Barry produced a stunning comeback. Kirkham started the comeback when he glanced home a header at the near post in the second-half.

Barry went on to win the National Championship for the first time in program history. Kirkham told PASS4 how the team were “plastered” all over news and sports channels in the US.

He said: “Back home, university sport isn’t talked about that much by the wider population, so I didn’t realise how much of a big deal winning a National Championship over here was until we actually did it.

“We were plastered over news and sports channels. We also received hundreds, if not thousands, of messages of support as we progressed through the competition.”

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