ARENA PRO SOCCER LEAGUE: Carlile makes most of opportunity with Rumbleweeds

For Andrew Carlile, his soccer career has taken a circuitous journey over the years.
The Napa, Calif. native has gone from playing at the NJCAA level with Jefferson College his freshman year to Santa Rosa Junior College his sophomore season before a brief stop at Cal State LA before playing three years with Napa Valley FC 1839 in the National Premier Soccer League. He returned back to the collegiate level with UTPB for his junior season in 2018 before turning pro with the West Texas Rumbleweeds in the US Arena Professional Soccer League.
But with all the changes of scenery, the biggest transition for Carlile has been adjusting to playing in the high-tempo levels of indoor soccer which is different from the slower pace action that he was used to from playing outdoors.
“It’s been a lot different,” Carlile said. “It’s a lot faster indoors than what I’m used to. You have to be a lot better with your feet than outdoors. There’s a lot of action. The atmosphere is intense. The crowds are always intense. It can sometimes get boring outdoors but indoors, its non-stop go.”
At Jefferson College, Carlile was an NJCAA Division I Regional Champion and was MCCAC Second Team All-Conference during his freshman year.
His sophomore year saw him win a Big 8 Conference Championship with Santa Rosa Junior College where he was named Second Team All-Conference.
A former teammate of his at Cal State LA, Emerson Lovato, would go on to become an assistant coach at UTPB, helping bring Carlile to the Lone Star State last year.
“That’s how I ended up being found by UTPB since he knew that I had a few years of eligibility left,” Carlile said. “He called me up to see if I was interested in playing here. I figured why not.”
After starting in 15 games for the Falcons in 2018, Carlile’s desire to get to the professional level soon led him to the Rumbleweeds where he gave up his final year of eligibility to play.
“It was a last-minute decision,” Carlile said. “I emailed coach (Danny) Lopez one day and gave him my background and he welcomed me to come and try out. I came out in the first training and coach Lopez said that he would give me a contract.”
He’s hopeful to be able to return to play in California and continue to play professionally.
“It was just a personal decision,” Carlile said of his decision to forgo his senior year. “I want to move back to California and get back to playing outdoors and play in a bigger city.”
For Lopez, Carlile has started to blossom into a leadership role with the Rumbleweeds.
“Andrew’s a unique talent,” Lopez said. “He’s one that we’re glad to have. He’s kind of developing into more of a leadership role, whether it’s in between quarters or off the fields, he’s taken on that leadership that I love to have. He’s an eager player. He’s made the most of his time here in West Texas.”
At the start of the season with the Rumbleweeds, Carlile was strictly a defender but has since been utilized as an attacking threat.
“He’s been adjusting very well,” Lopez said. “He’s a utility player primarily. I like him as a defender but I also want to utilize him as an attacking threat because he has great ball control and good speed. He gives me a bit of comfort in the back but he’s able to contribute on the attacking end.”
The Rumbleweeds (2-1 overall) return home for the third time this season against FC Wichita Falls with a 6 p.m. contest Saturday at Ector County Coliseum.
“I think the biggest thing is our team chemistry,” Carlile said. “A lot of us are really good friends even though we’ve only been together for a short while. We know how each other plays and works and that’s big. If you don’t have good team chemistry in this league, then you’re not going to succeed. Because we have a good coach like Danny and a great group of guys, we’ve become family in such a short time.”
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