Coming to college from a different state is a common thing, but it can still be a difficult adjustment. Coming from a different country is a completely different story of difficult adjustments, unless that is, you are as charismatic as Chris Francis’17.
Francis is originally from St. Catherine, Jamaica. However he’s been in the US living in Kalamazoo since August 2013. He chose to come to K after reading about it in Loren Pope’s Colleges That Change Lives. He was drawn to the experience that is Kalamazoo College, and of course the opportunity to play soccer.
Francis currently is a midfielder for K’s soccer team, but originally came in as a defender. However, after his first year on the team Coach Shabazz moved him up to midfield because he liked the pace Francis brought down the wings (soccer term). Francis says his relationship with Coach Shabazz is one of his favorite things about K.
“When I first came here in August 2013, coach [Shabazz] picked me up from the airport. He gave me a personal campus tour,” says Francis. This was the beginning of a strong coach-player relationship that has driven Francis to work hard on his soccer skills on a daily basis.
Off the soccer field Francis is a business major with a double minor in math and psych. His favorite class so far has been principles of marketing with Professor MacMillan because of its real world application. Besides his love for learning about business, Francis also hopes to study abroad in Madrid next spring.
Soccer and school aren’t the only thing in Francis’ life, there’s also more soccer. He is a huge Manchester United fan, calling himself “a die hard Red Devil.” Francis says “I remember coming home from high school and watching Man U play, it was my favorite.” He still follows his Red Devils religiously, and his Man U fandom is another thing he shares with Coach Shabazz.
One tough question many Man U fans have is who is their favorite player, and this was no different for Francis. He said he likes Ronaldo a lot, but he also loved watching Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs play because “they were such legends at Man U.”
Although Francis hasn’t been home in over a year, he still takes much pride in his Jamaican culture. He says, “I know I am the best jerk chicken maker in Kalamazoo. You can ask my teammates.”