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Andrew Kean was a highly accomplished youth soccer player in Scotland in the mid-1990s who accepted UC’s offer to come to the U.S. and help the Bearcats soccer program take a big step forward. In the process, he became the program’s first All-American, led the team to its first-ever NCAA Tournament in 1998, and was inducted into the James P. Kelly, Sr., UC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010. Here, Andrew talks about his UC experience.
On how life is better because of attending UC:
“Without any exaggeration or hesitation at all, I can say my life changed for the better by being a University of Cincinnati student as well as a student-athlete. The UC soccer team was touring the United Kingdom when I met my future wife, Allyson, who is Scottish — how’s that for irony? I enjoyed the culture at UC, where I learned about seizing opportunities and working hard to become better. And since returning to Scotland, I’ve seen that there’s a sort of ‘golden thread’ between the generations past and the athletes and students at UC now, which I really appreciate.”
On feeling part of UC even when living across the ocean:
“After having been part of something so positive as a student-athlete, when you leave you worry that you might become detached from it. I don’t want that to happen. So while I’m thousands of miles away in the United Kingdom, in the carpark of my office there’s a University of Cincinnati Alumni sticker on my car. I talk about the university every single day to kids who are interested in opportunities to go to the States. Contributing keeps me involved as an alumnus, and it feeds the hunger I have to be part of the UC family.”
On the UC family:
“I talk about the family — the university and the athletics department — because when I came to UC from Scotland, I didn’t have any actual family there. For four years, my family was my teammates, their parents and cousins and sisters and uncles, the medical staff, the compliance staff, Larry the superfan who came to the games and danced and sang … It was everyone who was so important to the program — such a great thing to be a part of. I almost get jealous when I see other kids have the opportunity to go there now, and they have absolutely no idea of the terrific four years ahead of them. I would pay good money to have another shot at it, that’s for sure.”
On supporting the university and soccer program as an alum:
“Whether the resources were easily available or not, providing support to the school and the soccer program is something I’d readily do, simply because I appreciate my opportunity even more as the years go on. Things have come on by leaps and bounds since I left, with the campus ever changing and evolving. The opportunities now at UC are far greater than when I was there. So I’ll certainly try to help other student-athletes have their opportunity, whether they’re from Alabama or Aberdeen, Scotland.”
On feeling pride as an alumnus:
“The Proudly Cincinnati slogan is quite appropriate because I don’t think there are many schools in the U.S. with such a proud and active alumni family, over and above athletics. And it’s not just UC — it’s Cincinnati itself, too. I said during my UC Hall of Fame speech that athletes learn to appreciate that it’s not just your team you’re playing for — actually you’re part of something much bigger than just a sports team. It’s hard to put into words, but there’s a different attitude at the University of Cincinnati. It’s just a fantastic place to be.”
To learn more about opportunities in your area, contact Matt Crone at 513-556-4522 or 877-4-UCALUM toll-free.