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With 13 Languages Spoken, Soccer Team’s Diversity an Asset, Says Coach

Between them, the players on this year’s men’s soccer team at Fordham speak 13 languages. It’s something that Head Coach Jim McElderry believes to be a plus for student-athletes, not just on the field but in their futures as well.

“It’s a great learning process for our players, and I truly do feel it helps them once they leave Fordham, when they enter the so-called real world,” said McElderry.

Calling the diversity an “asset” at a time when immigration is under attack nationally aligns with the University’s support for immigrants frequently articulated by Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. But it also makes for a great team, said McElderry.

“In addition to students from abroad, we have a lot of players that are first generation who speak different languages, come from a real traditional culture, and even though they’re living in New Jersey or Connecticut, their culture is really from Europe or from Africa or from South America,” said McElderry. “I mean, we’ve really had kids from basically every continent play for us during the last 15 years. I truly value it and I think it’s helped our team be more successful. Plus, they’re great students.”

Sophomore Andron Kagramanyan plays midfield and is from Ontario, Canada. He speaks Russian and succinct English.

“It doesn’t matter what language you speak; the real language is soccer,” he said.

McElderry said he feels “privileged” to be part of a sport that attracts players from all over the world.

“Many of these guys are familiar with playing with other players from different areas and different cultures,” he said. “It just feels natural, especially here in New York City.”



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