By Cam Tranchemontagne, Contributing Writer
Last week, Duff Thomson was named America East Men’s Soccer Player of the week after an impressive goal late in the first half against the University of Massachusetts which gave the Wildcats a 1-0 win. According to UNH Athletics it was the first goal of the midfielder’s career. Only a sophomore, Duff is a promising athlete who shows much potential both as a player and a leader.
On an overcast, chilly Tuesday morning, Duff agreed to sit down and talk a bit about how he came to play for UNH men’s soccer. As a child he was constantly surrounded by the sport.
“I have an older brother who’s really into it, and I have parent’s who are both English so they’re both big Premier League supporters,” he said through a cracked smile.
A big fan of Chelsea himself, one of the most prominent soccer clubs in the Premier League, Duff mentioned he always looked up to the central defender John Terry, “since I was a little, little kid.”
“[Terry’s] had a few off-field issues but I’m more his fan when he’s on the field,” he added. “He’s a quality player, a good captain and a good leader,” when addressing racial and extramarital controversies surrounding the Chelsea captain.
Though he was born in Greenfield, New Hampshire, Duff went to school in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the urging of his family. There, he studied and played on the varsity team at Buckingham Browne and Nichols. However, he soon left the varsity team and committed to playing at FC Bolts Celtic Academy for four years; three of which he was the captain. He says his biggest challenge so far has been adjusting to higher levels of competition. “The tempo is a lot higher,” he said. “You have to know that you gotta fight for your spot, your spot is never safe … It keeps people on their toes and keeps them playing well.”
Off the field, Duff is not very different from most University of New Hampshire sophomores. Laid back, friendly and engaging, talking to Duff is about as easy as talking to an old friend. And just like everyone else he too has his own hobbies. “I’m pretty big into woodworking,” he remarked. Thomson landed an internship with New England Wood Pellet, the largest producer of wood pellets for the U.S. heating market during his senior year of high school. “I worked with the CEO for about 6 months … we did tons of stuff with the big machinery … designing cool things. I love that kind of stuff!” Duff also has a taste for coconut water which he says he’ll drink the night before a game, “I just think they’re a better hydrating tool than water, plus you get the ones that have a little bit more sugar too, so that’s nice.”
It seems that the foremost among Duff’s priorities is his family, who have been there since the beginning. In fact, he was actually committed for some time to play men’s soccer at the University of Michigan but opted to go to New Hampshire last minute to stay close to his family. When asked about what he plans to do after UNH he said, “I think I want to do U.S. Army Special Forces. Actually, I know I want to do that, its been in my mind for a while … I actually had a grandfather in the CIA and my grandmother didn’t know about it until he died.” All in all Duff Thomson is ambitious, talented, and yet still down to earth. He has no visions of glamour or prestige for himself but is the kind of person to put 100% of his effort into anything he does. Look to the mid-field when you’re watching the Wildcats’ in action and you’ll see Duff in action, doing what he does best.