Interview with Cameron Woodfin.
By: Mathew Walker
Cameron Woodfin is a midfielder for the Chattanooga Football Club (CFC), a third-tier professional soccer team. Cameron is an attacking midfielder, similar to a basketball point-guard, and will be directing his team in the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) Tournament starting this Saturday. You can tune-in to the start of this tournament, as the CFC takes on the Georgia Revolution, live on the Chattanooga CW, Saturday July 11th at 8pm EST.
Like many professional athletes, Cameron Woodfin got his start in the sport very young. His father started Cameron’s career at the age of four, mostly to get him active and learn about teamwork. Cameron quickly fell in love. One of his favorite early memories was watching the 2002 FIFA World Cup with his father and brother. As the Tournament was being held in Japan and South Korea, the Woodfins had to get up at 4am to watch (I don’t know about y’all, but that’s real dedication if you ask me). Cameron started watching soccer seriously in high school and became a fan of fellow midfielder Andrea Pirlo, an Italian star and one of the best players in Europe. Cameron made a point to praise Pirlo’s particularly precise passing.
When asked to describe the role of an attacking midfielder in his own words, Cameron said “In a word, a midfielder is a playmaker.” He went on to describe an offensive facilitator; one who finds the weakness in his opponent’s defenses and directs his teammates to exploit them. While he laments the lack of glory when compared to the fame of goal-scorers, Cameron is very proud of his position and its importance to the team. His recent exploits with the CFC include a particularly impressive match with Real Betis, a first-tier professional Spanish team home to players with multi-million dollar contracts. In this match, against internationally famous players, Cameron and the CFC scored three goals in a 4-3 defeat. Cameron noted “when playing against professionals of that caliber, you’re really motivated to give it your all, to show those guys what you’ve got.” Then the conversation moved to more dour topics.
Like all Spring athletics, soccer and the CFC were heavily impacted by the spread of COVID-19. The CFC was able to play only a single match before the season was cancelled. This was obviously disappointing and demoralizing to Cameron and his teammates, but Cameron understood that the safety of the fans and players was paramount. Cameron briefly detailed some of the struggles he and the team faced, and continue to face, in the wake of the breakout. He said that one of the biggest challenges was staying committed to eating right and working out while in isolation. Head Coach Peter Fuller helped his team through this issue by holding weekly conferences (remotely of course) with the team to hold them accountable and give direction on workouts and drills. Cameron further praised his coaching staff on their adaptability and creativity in making drills that could replicate game situations while complying with social-distancing regulations.
Looking forward, Cameron hopes that US Soccer will continue to grow in popularity and prestige. He would like to see American players reach some of the heights of international fame currently held largely by Europeans. Cameron admires the US Women’s National Team and their recent contributions to this goal, winning two FIFA World Cups. Further, he admires them for their responsible use of their public platform and how well they are serving as role-models. To close the interview, I asked Cameron if he would like to emulate that example here. He compiled saying, “I would like to encourage everyone to keep an open mind and really listen to people, particularly about COVID and race relations. I believe that sports can be a vehicle to bring people together, that we can put our differences aside and work as one.”