John O’Connor, head coach of the soccer team at Castleton University has coached his fair share of talent over his years of coaching.
But one player in particular sticks out.
Geoff Cameron, who came to O’Connor during his time at the University of Rhode Island, now plays professionally across the pond in Europe for Stoke City and for the United States national team.
Cameron, before seeking out O’Connor in Rhode Island, played for West Virginia where O’Connor said he felt he was being underutilized.
During his rookie year after college, Cameron played for the Houston Dynamo’s in the MLS. While there, he still kept in contact with his old college coach, before then moving to England to play for Stoke City.
O’Connor said Cameron would speak to him a few times a month about how everything was going. When Cameron made his first appearance for the national team, O’Connor said he wasn’t going to miss it.
“Seeing him play for the U.S. National Team for the first time was the coolest thing probably ever,” O’Connor said.
During the last World Cup in 2014, Cameron started in almost every game for the stars and stripes. Naturally, O’Connor didn’t miss a chance to watch the game when one of his own players is playing.
When he sees Cameron playing now at the professional level, he said he still sees the kid who came to him looking for a chance.
“It’s surreal to see him play. He still looks the same, just a little more tattooed,” O’Connor says with a laugh.