Close Page

Former student-athletes go pro in Europe

Sports
By Carlos Guzman
May 01, 2017

Michael Lindsey and Aurélien Norest may have come from very different walks of life, but their paths crossed at MNU, where their time as student-athletes helped them develop as players at MidAmerica. Now, both Lindsey and Norest play professionally overseas.

California native Michael Lindsey began playing football for MNU after first playing for a junior college and another university. Now, Lindsey is playing professionally in the Czech Republic. Lindsey said that, in the midst of his early football career, MNU felt like home.

“I was looking for a fresh start and a new home,” Lindsey said. “MNU welcomed me with open arms and it seemed like the perfect place.”

Aurélien Norest, also known as “Frenchy,” graduated from MNU in 2014 and is now playing soccer professionally in Iceland. Originally from France, he drew the attention of many NCAA and NAIA coaches at a scouting combine at the French national soccer center, Clairefontaine.

“After meeting with all the different coaches, I already had a little preference for MNU [after] the speech Coach Wardlaw gave to me,” Norest said. “I could feel a kind of wisdom, strength and truth in the words he was using,”

During his time at MNU, Norest said his experiences with the coaches, teammates, students, professors and staff helped him achieve his dream of playing professional soccer.

Lindsey said that after his time at MidAmerica, he also knew he wanted to continue to pursue a professional career.

Michael Lindsey picMichael Lindsey suiting up for the Pardubice Stallions in the Czech Republic. Lindsey says he has become a leader by helping his teammates develop their skills and hopes his time with the Stallions will lead to more career opportunities. Photo courtesy of Michael Lindsey.

Over the course of the next year and a half, Lindsey attended an NFL regional combine in Indianapolis, tried out for many arena football teams and even tried out for the Kansas City Chiefs, but Lindsey never stuck.

“I was ready to just hang up my cleats, but I moved back home to California,” Lindsey said. “I played for a local semi-pro team called the Capital City Fury that gave me an opportunity to play and get exposure for myself.”

It was during Lindsey’s time with the Fury that he drew the attention of some overseas teams. With the help of a friend, Lindsey earned a spot on a professional team in the Czech Republic: the Pardubice Stallions.

Norest got his first professional contract through Soccerviza, a sport agency. After attending a combine sponsored by the agency, an Icelandic team extended Norest an offer to become part of Knattspyrnudeild Vestra (Vestra FC), which Norest accepted.

Norest said that playing professionally is more of a lifestyle than playing in college. He is under a strict diet and spends many hours working out off the field because, with a professional contract, the game becomes a business and with that comes more pressure.

Lindsey agreed that playing professionally raises new challenges, but also new opportunities. Since joining the Stallions, Lindsey said he has had the opportunity to step up as a leader to help develop the players’ skills. Lindsey said he enjoys the style of play and hopes his time with the Stallions will open new doors in the future.

As an American living in a foreign country, Lindsey said he initially had some difficulty adjusting to a new culture.

“This is my first time in Europe, so things like grocery shopping and asking where the bathroom [is] was tough at first,” Lindsey said. “But they speak English here and my teammates [taught] me a little Czech, so it’s fun.”

Norest said that he did not face many problems when he moved to Iceland. He said English is widely spoken so it is not difficult to move around and interact with the people.

Frenchy picAurélien “Frenchy” Norest playing for Knattspyrnudeild Vestra in Iceland. Norest says that since he became a professional player, soccer has become an all-encompassing lifestyle requiring complete dedication. Photo courtesy of Aurélien Norest.

According to athletic director Todd Garrett, the success of Lindsey and Norest is a testament, not only MNU’s ability to attract good athletes, but also the university’s ability to develop them into even better players.

“Our coaches have relationships with professional scouts, locally as well as internationally,” Garrett said. “Their duty is to help create a little bit of momentum for the student-athlete and help promote the student-athlete to move on and play at the next level.”

The ability to equip student-athletes to “go pro” is something Garrett says he values about MNU’s athletic program. Linsey and Norest are just two examples of the kind of path athletes can take after leaving MidAmerica.

“Our head coaches are well connected,” Garrett said. “When those student-athletes leave here, graduate and move on to the professional level, it’s really another way we can spread our brand.”

Carlos Guzman

- More by this author

Carlos Guzman ('19) is from Overland Park, Kansas and is the Sports editor for The Trailblazer. He is a biology major with an emphasis in pre-medicine and is also pursuing a minor degree in Youth and Family Ministry.  Carlos is also on the cross country and track and field team.  

comments powered by Disqus
IMG 3696

Cross country runs to a top 20 finish at nationals

For most college students, having to run a mile would be seen as a punishment and a burden. However, to the MNU cross country team, running only a mile is a nice day off.

moia112717

Many parts, one body

No. 19 MNU women's basketball team united in diversity

23592223 10212720222053616 306630559851822706 o

Sweet surprise: MNU men’s soccer ends year with national tournament berth

Jonathan Koch threw his jersey into his bag and stormed over to Cook Center. The text he had received from his coach was clear.

bfmock

Sunderland Foundation gives a second sizable donation toward MNU’s new Student Center

The Sunderland Foundation donated $300 thousand to MNU to go toward the building of a new Student Center in late October. The donation was the second gift from the Sunderland Foundation in two years.

file

Creative Spaces

Replenishing the mind and body through art

Devin Kelley

When answers are not enough

Responding to tragedies such as the Texas church shooting

Quick updates Nov. 2017

Men’s Soccer After an overtime win on penalty kicks on Nov. 3 at No.

JGMBB

Men's basketball team hits the ground running

This isn't true for the members of the MNU men’s basketball team.  Since August, the team has put in many hours on the court, in the weight room, in the film room and even on the track in preparation for the upcoming season.

Extreme makeover: website edition

MNU’s main online presence will undergo a facelift in 2018. After five years with the same website, the university’s Marketing and Communications Department wants a web platform that better accommodates potential and current students.

Videos / See More