Like many footballers looking for opportunity, James Vaughan left his native England in 2014 to accept a scholarship to Northwood University.
The 22-year-old midfielder immediately made an impact in Midland and has helped Northwood become more competitive each year. Vaughan was an All-GLIAC selection in 2016 and has been a leader in the midfield for the Timberwolves.
Coach Eric Rudland added, “It’s a pleasure to have James back this year. He’s a versatile midfielder who has loads of experience both internationally and domestically. He has been a driving force for Northwood’s most recent success and is a welcome returning player for our side here in Ann Arbor.”
James joined AFC Ann Arbor in 2016 and played a key role in the club’s journey to the playoffs. He returns in 2017 to handle some unfinished business and move on to the Final 8 this year. Vaughan will be looking to take more of a leadership role in this year’s squad as a returning player. The midfielder is a valuable asset to the club as an option on all set pieces as well as a possession player for the Mighty Oak.
Vaughan added, “I hope to accomplish another solid year in the NPSL, experienced players as well as fresh new talent I believe we have capability of winning the NPSL this year. It will be a tough task but with the support of the fans and coaching staff I believe anything is possible for year.”
AFC Ann Arbor recently caught up with the midfielder, read more about the interview below.
AFC: What motivated you to come back and spend a second consecutive summer with AFC?
JV: There isn't just one thing which motivated me to come back to AFC AA this summer, it was a combination of the coaching staff, fans and staff of AA are so supportive and they are always willing to do anything to make our time as a player here enjoyable. As soon as I got the call from Eric to come back there was no hesitation in saying yes.
AFC: What was your most memorable experience from last summer?
JV: The most memorable experience from last summer was defiantly the win against Lansing United. To come back in that game seemed an impossible task, but the boys all came together and showed great camaraderie and to win was the icing on the cake.
AFC: What do you hope to accomplish with AFC in 2017?
JV: I hope to have another solid year in the NPSL. With experienced players in addition to the fresh talent we're bringing in, I believe we have capability of winning the NPSL this year. It will be a tough task but with the support of the fans and coaching staff I believe anything is possible for year.
AFC: Can you speak to the contrast from playing at Northwood then AFC Ann Arbor? There is so much turnover in NPSL, but this year's team features a good amount of returning players, do you feel comfortable taking more of a leadership role in this years team as a returner?
JV: Playing with a new team is always challenging at any level, playing for your college allows you to train with the same guys for at least a year. Playing with new players from colleges all over the country is difficult, you get use to playing with the same guys week in week out and you start to understand how your teammates perform in different situations the more you play with them. However, with AA you have to come in and really get to know the boys as quickly as possible so you can hit the ground running coming into the season.
About AFC Ann Arbor
AFC Ann Arbor completed a very successful inaugural campaign in the Midwest Region of the National Premier Soccer League finishing 2nd in the conference while earning the club’s first playoff berth. The club’s third season kicks off in May as The Mighty Oak look to continue their winning ways under Head Coach Eric Rudland. Youth, General and Premium Memberships for Season Tree can be purchased here.