The day is August 28, 2015. Cameron Harr, a freshman on the Marist Men’s Soccer team makes his collegiate debut. In an away game against St. Joseph’s College, Harr scores his first career goal. Little did he know this was just the beginning of a bright future.
“Coming in freshman year I was pretty nervous, just playing with guys a lot older, bigger and stronger. I didn’t know what to expect right away because I thought I was going to kind of get pushed around,” Harr said.
The physicality of Division I soccer certainly did not hold Harr back, as he finished his freshman year campaign by winning MAAC Co-Rookie of the Year, being named to the All-MAAC Second Team and All-MAAC Rookie Team, as well as MAAC Player of the Week and MAAC Rookie of the Week. He earned all of that recognition by leading the team with eight goals. “I never actually cared about the awards. They’re nice and it felt cool to win them, but team success was more important to me than winning any individual award,” Harr said. Despite all of Harr’s personal success, he was not satisfied; he would have preferred a MAAC Championship over any accolade he received.
Harr returned to Marist for his sophomore year aiming to achieve his goal of winning a MAAC title. Again, Harr thrived from an individual standpoint. He ended his second year with accolades including MAAC Offensive Player of the Year, ECAC Offensive Player of the Year, First Team All-MAAC, First Team All-ECAC, NSCAA First Team All-Northeast Region and was a two-time MAAC Player of the Week. Additionally, Harr led the team with 17 goals, which helped to rank him in the top five nationally in goals, points, goals per game, points per game, shots per game and game winning goals. He had checked almost every achievable box–except of course a MAAC Championship ring. After another year of impressive personal success, Harr decided it was time to challenge himself at a new level.
After the countless awards and acknowledgements he received, Harr chose to move on to bigger and better things. While Harr and I were sitting at Starbucks, he struggled to explain his reasoning for leaving Marist. “Aw man, this is a hard question, I just felt like it was time for me to face a new challenge, I like to challenge myself,” Harr said. “It was always my dream to play in the ACC as a little kid, and when the opportunity arose I took it. And after I talked to a few other coaches, I felt more comfortable about the possibility of playing at a higher level.” Harr was a standout soccer player at Marist, but decided to move on to try to impact the University of Virginia. Harr would fulfill his dream of competing in the ACC.
Harr did not return to Poughkeepsie in the spring of his sophomore year, but instead moved to Charlottesville, VA. The decision to leave his friends and school, which were still all relatively new to him, was a difficult one for him. “I achieved everything I wanted to at Marist,” Harr emotionally said. “If I didn’t have Marist as a platform for me I would not have been able to make it to where I did.”
Harr explained how luxurious the UVA soccer program was and how the players were treated like professional athletes. Harr’s first steps into the facilities at UVA were unforgettable: he had his very own locker with an abundance of gear, cleats and sneakers. The team had its own locker room, which was a pretty big deal for him considering the Marist locker rooms are shared between all teams. It even had a full kitchen that was supplied with every food imaginable, or at least the healthiest foods you could think of, since they were still athletes. It was a dream come true for Harr. If his cleats ripped, he had two brand new pairs to choose from. If his laundry needed to be done, it was done. Best of all, if he needed somewhere to hangout in between classes, there was a full lounge filled with couches and TVs.
This was a dream Harr never wanted to wake up from, until his lavish lifestyle came to a halt. Reality hit when he suffered a hip injury that hindered him from playing for the Cavaliers.
All good things come to an end. Unfortunately, Harr spent most of his time in rehab instead of on the soccer field. Harr only had three full months of playing before he got hurt. This unexpected setback caused him to red-shirt his first season as a Cavalier.
However, Harr still managed to learn a lot about himself both on and off the field while he was involved in such high level athletics. Although on the surface it appeared that he was living his best life at UVA, he spent a lot of time comparing his experience to that of Marist. Marist was less demanding in terms of time spent on the field, and his class schedules were made around practice times to make it easier for athletes to balance school and sports. At UVA, Harr struggled to balance both school and soccer. Since Harr did not get the full soccer experience at UVA, he began to realize that there is more to life than just kicking a ball on a field. Removing his focus from soccer allowed him to concentrate on school and start considering what future jobs he would be interested in.
Harr does not have the desire to play professionally, unlike many of the players from the ACC who would do anything for that kind of opportunity. His injury and his lack of adjustment to a new lifestyle at UVA put his life in perspective, and he realized that soccer is not all he wanted to do in the long term future. If anything, he would want to be a coach, while also pursuing a well-paying job.
Fast forward to the end of his second semester at UVA.
One day in December 2017, Harr received a phone call from Marist head coach Matt Viggiano. After discussing Harr’s dissatisfaction with his experience at UVA, it did not take much convincing for him to officially become a Red Fox…again.
The Marist Men’s Soccer phenom is now back and ready to accomplish his goal of freshman and sophomore year: winning a MAAC Championship. “I don’t regret transferring, and I don’t regret transferring back,” Harr confidently said. “The team has been pretty good, I just think it caught them by surprise … They were shocked that I’m back. I think when the newness wears off, they’ll be more accepting, but it has been a little difficult coming back.” Harr was an important asset to the Red Foxes, yet they still managed to win games without him. Harr will have to re-earn his starting spot, regain the trust of his teammates and continue the success he had in his first two seasons at Marist. For Harr, the fall season cannot come soon enough. He’s looking forward to see where he will fit in with a new Red Fox squad.
Harr has now experienced the two opposite ends of the Division I soccer spectrum, and yet he has returned to where he prospered. His success at Marist did not carry over to UVA, since he unfortunately didn’t even get the chance to compete in a conference game. The instance where a player transfers to one school and then returns back to their original school is something that most find both unusual and uncommon. Why Harr left and came back to Marist still stirs questions and rumors throughout campus. Nevertheless, Harr is here to stay and will be playing another two seasons as a Red Fox.
Ignoring all the talk about his mysterious return, Harr has confidence that he will help lead his team to a MAAC Championship.
With offers aplenty, freshman midfielder Allen Galivanes is currently going through a similar situation.