The International Story of Salar Faryar
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More stories from Roberto Jensen
February 17, 2017
December 1, 2016
The ball landed at his feet. He dribbled upfield in hopes of getting a shot off, but was greeted by a wall of defense. Salar Faryar, 14, deferred. He gave up the ball instead of going for the shot. Unsure, hesitant, even scared at times, Faryar admitted that back then, he wasn’t much help to his team.
“I was very soft. I always tried to avoid contact and I had a lot of injuries,” said Faryar, now 20 and a freshman for the Le Moyne College men’s soccer team. “That’s why they kicked me out.”
Faryar played for the youth league Eimthract Frankfurt in his home country, Germany, until he was 14, in hopes of playing professionally someday. Eimthract Frankfurt had kids between the ages 13 and 15 on its roster and eventually, the league they played in deemed Faryar “too timid.”
Faryar always had a love for soccer. He started playing when he was four and was always the kid who wanted to perform better, contribute more. But back then he couldn’t see ahead to the day he would travel overseas to Le Moyne and play the game he loved at the Division-II level.
Academics came easily for Faryar. He always pulled great grades. He was well behaved, nice and respectful. In Germany, he said, the school system is much different than the way things are in the United States.
“In Germany, you get a much better education in high school,” said Faryar. “Everything there is a challenge. The things we do here in America are easier, but in a different language. The system is just different. My mind and creativity are not challenged.”
Faryar attended Max-Eyth Schule, a high school at the top of the education ladder. Things looked good, and his sights were set on college and then he failed the 11th grade.
After the first semester of junior year, everything was too much for him. He was always practicing and traveling for soccer, and his game was on the rise but there was no time for all that school work.
Faryar soon transferred to a different school in Germany for a fresh start. After his second semester there, though, due to issues with courses that did not transfer with him, he learned that his second semester would not count towards graduation. He was able to eventually graduate and decided to major in business at Le Moyne. But why Syracuse, New York?
In order to get looks from colleges in the United States, Faryar signed with an agency in Germany called Sportsscholarships.de. They reached out to him because of potential, he said, and required videos, photos and more information about his soccer resume and development over the years. They wanted to know every little thing about him before they’d sign him. Faryar said he could have gone to a Division I school for soccer, but he couldn’t receive any of those potential offers when he had failed in Frankfurt.
In November 2015, his academic hurdles crossed and Faryar’s online profile went live. In no time, he received more than 30 offers from different schools, not only from the NCAA, but some from Germany.
He was able to narrow his choices to Wingate University, Midwestern State University and Le Moyne College. “I chose Le Moyne because the whole package was convincing,” he said. “It offers a great education and has a great image.”
When Faryar arrived at Le Moyne in August, it was the first time he had ever been to the school and the first time he had been in the U.S. since 2011, when he went to California to visit relatives. But before he was able to just hop on a plane and come overseas, he had to pass a test called the Toefl test, which rates students’ English. He’d need to ace it if he planned to study in the States.
He had learned the basics of English through basic English classes back home, similar to the way American kids take Spanish, French or in some places, German. For the Toefl test, everyone is placed in a room and they start at different times, he explained. It consists of speaking, listening, reading and writing. The first time he took the test, Faryar failed. It took him two tries to pass.
Being on the soccer team has helped him better his English, constantly being surrounded by his teammates and coaches. “Now that I’m in America, all I speak is English,” he said. “Sometimes I catch myself even thinking in English.”
Faryar had an incredible rookie season. Not only did he lead Le Moyne in goals, he tied for most goals scored by a freshman in Division II with Mercyhurst University’s Jorge Gonzales. Faryar made the All-Rookie Team and earned All-Conference First Team recognition.
“I found out I made the All-Conference First Team through my mom,” he said. “She texted me when she found out. She is by far my number one supporter.”
His coach Tom Bonus describes Faryar as “very motivated.” “It was great coaching him this year. Salar is very competitive and he wants to win,” said Bonus.
The team completed the season with a 14-5-2 record.
Even though playing for a Division I school would be great, Faryar admits he’s very happy at Le Moyne. He loves the family that he has created here. The school motivates him to do well and he always gets help when he needs it.
Now that he’s in the off-season, Faryar has shifted his focus more toward school, but he still finds time to stay in shape. He can often be found playing a game of “Soccer Tennis” with teammate and his good friend Pablo Fernandez, also a Le Moyne freshman on the team.
“Throughout my experience of playing with Salar, I’ve noticed he has a very European style of play that I like,” said Fernandez. “It’s easy to play with him and be his friend. He is always there when it counts, on and off the field. Not everyone has that ability. I’m looking forward to the rest of this year with him and even more for next fall when the season begins.”
Salar Faryar has had an incredible ride in his short time at Le Moyne. Growing up in Germany, going to school in the U.S., failing, learning and succeeding, Faryar has himself on the right track. He didn’t take that shot when he was 14, but now it seems he can’t miss.