Get to know: Ben Pleavin
Hailing from Chester, UK — an English town of around 80,000 located about 30 miles south of Liverpool — Toledo Villa FC midfielder Ben Pleavin is fairly new to the United States. His youth career included playing academy football for Manchester United, Blackburn, and Accrington Stanley, Pleavin came to America in January to play at Duquesne University. Former TVFC forward, and now a Duquesne assistant coach, Adam Mitchell, suggested to Pleavin to join four other teammates, including local Zach Mowka, in Toledo this season.
"I didn't really know anything about the summer league system (here)," Pleavin said, saying he decided to join Villa in April. "I didn't know how it happened. I said to Adam, I just need regular minutes. I want to go somewhere where I can play football. So yeah, it just sort of fell into place for me."
Q: How does this level of play compare to college soccer or where you came from?
PLEAVIN: I wasn't particularly surprised by the level of play. Everyone who I had spoke to before I came to the States said that the level was good. I think there's a stigma in Europe and in the UK that soccer in America is like a really low level but I think it's really surprised me, in a way, that the American lads especially are really good technically. I think the European lads play a bit more similar to what I'm used to. But the American systems definitely growing on me.
Q: What do you miss most right now being away from home for the summer?
PLEAVIN: This time last year I would have been in Ibiza so, you know, this would have been usually the time to let your hair down, have a bit of fun and switch off from football. But the way the seasons work in America are a little bit different so this is my pre-preseason in essence. Of course you miss your family, you miss your friends. You see your family spending time in the sun, going for barbecues and little family events and stuff like that. They're the things I miss from being back home more than anything. My friends are going on holiday and having a good time but I'm here with the boys I'm having fun. I'm sure I'll get my time.
Q: What are some things about Toledo you have been able to enjoy so far?
PLEAVIN: We went to Cedar Point. Mowka had a couple of free tickets and we had a day off and went to Cedar Point. We just spent the day on the roller coasters. Big mistake though. We had Panda Express like halfway through the day and then got back on the roller coasters. It wasn't our smartest decision. We're walking back holding our stomachs. I wouldn't say I'm like a massive adrenaline junkie, but there were some free tickets and we had nothing to do. So it was like, why not? Just go and see something different and try something different.
Toledo Villa FC will be back in action this Sunday July 2nd away at Fort Wayne at 5pm.