AFC Ann Arbor are thrilled to announce the signing of Gary Ogilvie for the 2019 season. Ogilvie is an English midfielder who spent the past four seasons in New Zealand with Canterbury United. Prior to that, the Englishman played with sixth-tier Concord Rangers, an experience that included a cameo appearance in the FA Cup on the road at League Two side Mansfield Town (in which Rangers played them to a 1-1 draw away from home). With high-level experience abroad, and already embedding himself in the team through training and participating in the final friendly match of the preseason, Ogilvie is a welcome addition to an already strong midfield.
Ogilvie was a key part to a Canterbury United side that, last season, finished third in the top-tier of New Zealand football. He made sixteen appearances with the club, scoring six goals for the Dragons, while serving as captain for the majority of these appearances. This came off a strong 2017-18 season in which he scored five goals and added four assists over seventeen matches. United finished third in 2017-18 as well and would advance to the ‘Finals Series’ in each of the two seasons (a playoff between the four top teams in the league each season).
The question that AFC fans may have is a logical one: How does a top-flight New Zealand Premiership talent end up in Michigan? Ogilvie explained, “My wife’s family live in Howell, so I was looking at playing locally for the summer. I wanted to play for the best club I could, and after doing some research I contacted Eric.” He continued to describe his thought process as he said, “Speaking to people who know this league talk about Ann Arbor as one of the great clubs, and I want to be a part of that.” The family connections led him to Michigan, and AFCAA are all the more thankful that it was the case.
When it comes to playing itself, Ogilvie highlights an essential aspect to any player regardless of level. He told AFCAA, “I think the ability to adapt my game to suit the needs of the coach and the team has been my greatest strength, and the reason why I’ve been fortunate to have so many great opportunities in soccer.” The experience aspect is another one of the reasons that Eric Rudland is so excited to welcome him into the squad, as he says, “He brings with him a wealth of playing experience abroad that we hope bleeds through the rest of our team.”
Talking more pointedly about aspects of his game, Rudland says, “After having him in for the past week it looks like his tactical acumen and ability to manipulate the ball will be very good at our level.” With the experience in a country that has, from 2011 to 2018, had a side win the OFC Champions League, he will certainly bring that knowledge of a higher level that Rudland and the rest of the coaching staff hopes from him.
When asked how this experience will help him, Ogilvie said, “I know what it takes to win. I’ve seen a wide range of different situations throughout a season, it’s never plain sailing, and I have experience in leading teams through those periods of adversity.” Expanding on this, and talking about hopes for his season, he said, “Firstly, I want to win. There’s no better feeling than winning things with a group of people who are all working as hard as they can to achieve the same things you are.”
Here in the States, though, Ogilvie hopes to accumulate more knowledge. “I also want to learn as much as I can,” the young veteran said. “Even though I’m 29, I still have the hunger to grow as a player,” he would add. Having played at high levels competitively overseas and venturing into an unfamiliar league, the desire to learn and grow as a player is something that is always welcome to any side. With technical ability to match this positive attitude, hopes are high for the incoming midfielder.
When asked about a message for fans of The Mighty Oak, Ogilvie wanted to make sure that fans of AFC Ann Arbor knew, “I’ll always leave everything out on the field.” A hard-working and determined player, Rudland added the club is “really excited to have him in the team” and for good reason. Especially at a level of play where team rosters are very fluid and often fluctuate until the very last possible second, AFCAA will be pleased that the roster breaks favored them in the acquiring of Ogilvie.
About AFC Ann Arbor
Founded in 2014, Association Football Club Ann Arbor launched it’s men’s semi-pro team in 2015 and has competed in the NPSL since 2016. Led by Head Coach & Sporting Director, Eric Rudland, the team has found great success winning back to back Great Lakes Championships (‘17 & ‘18) and earning US Open Cup bids three straight years (2017-2019). In October 2018, the club announced the launch of the women’s side, who will be skippered by Andy “Pritch” Pritchard in their inaugural season of the United Women’s Soccer national league. Owned and operated by a group of local soccer fans and entrepreneurs, AFC Ann Arbor has become a fixture in the greater Ann Arbor community.