Chattanooga Football Club duo stay united, Norwich to 'Nooga

Chattanooga Football Club duo stay united, Norwich to 'Nooga

July 13th, 2013 by John Frierson in Sportlocal

Luke Winter, right, and John Carrier practice with the Chattanooga Football Club at Finley Stadium. Winter and Carrier grew up playing soccer together in Norwich, England. They both played soccer at the collegiate level at Tennessee Wesleyan College, with Winter helping to recruit Carrier to play there.

Photo by C. B. Schmelter/Times Free Press.

If you watch the Chattanooga Football Club and it seems that Luke Winter and John Carrier have the chemistry and timing of two guys who have played together for a long time, they have.

This is their second season together playing for CFC (6-1-3), which plays in Tulsa, Okla., tonight against Tulsa Athletics (10-0-2) in the National Premier Soccer League South Conference playoffs. However, they've been teammates since playing high school and league soccer together as teenagers in Norwich, England.

"We have been friends quite a while now," Carrier said.

Before they were teammates they played against each other, starting when they were around 14, Winter said.

"We went to the same high school for what would have been our junior and senior year if we were in America," Winter said. "We played together on that team and then we played together on the county team as well, which would be like a state team."

When it came time to figure out where they were going to play in college, Winter was the first to pick Tennessee Wesleyan. Carrier looked at some other options, but when those fell through he got an assist from Winter.

"I told the coach, you have to get this kid," Winter said.

The two had very productive careers at the college in Athens. As seniors last season, Winter led Wesleyan with 15 goals and Carrier had a team-high 13 assists as the Bulldogs went 14-4-3 and reached the NAIA tournament.

Winter is in his third season with CFC, while it's the second for Carrier. How much longer they keep returning to CFC is unknown, though Winter said, "I'll keep playing if I'm wanted."

After this season, he will resume working on his master's degree at Shorter University in Rome, Ga., where he also will serve as a graduate assistant on the men's soccer team. Carrier is going to be the assistant coach at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala., and also plans to pursue a master's.

Friends, roommates and teammates, Carrier and Winter have spent the better part of a decade together. When asked what part of Winter's game he wished he had, Carrier had an immediate answer.

"How he battles for everything," Carrier said. "He's like a bulldozer. He just bullies his way through defenders to get what he wants."

Winter was asked the same question.

"Speed," he said. "He's so quick, and dribbling he's so good.

"Mold us together and it would be a pretty good player."

They've done pretty well as individuals and teammates, on both sides of the big pond.

Contact John Frierson at jfrierson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MocsBeat.