New England Soccer Today

Beeston Achieving Dream with Western Mass

Photo credit: David Henry/

Photo credit: David Henry/

One of the revelations from the Western Mass Professional Soccer Club’s inaugural season in the American Soccer League (ASL) is the emergence of James Beeston, who has shown himself to be a dominant midfield force on the field.

Beeston, who was one of the first players signed by the club, has improved every week since the start of the season. After continually breaking down defenses using his speed and precise passing in PDL action, it’s become clear early on that he’s got the ability and talent to thrive in pro soccer.

Beeston was raised in Newcastle-under-Lyme, a market town in Staffordshire, England. Newcastle-under-Lyme is famous for its parks and gardens, along with a traditional market known as “The Stones.”

He started playing soccer at the local park and yard with his dad since the age of four. According to the central midfielder, an “unsuccessful and horrendous” attempt at cricket gave him the desire to solely focus on soccer.

At a young age, Beeston became a big fan of Port Vale F.C. located in Burslem, Staffordshire. Port Vale plays in Football League One, the third tier in the English football league system. Even today Beeston checks their results every Saturday, and tries to catch a game when at home.

Before moving to the United States for school, Beeston played thirteen years in the Port Vale Youth Academy. He won a number of accolades, such as winning the Midland Youth Cup twice, MVP of the Shrewsbury International Soccer Tournament, and captained Wolstanton High School along with his town Newcastle-Under-Lyme.

It was almost by chance that Beeston wound up at Siena College, a private liberal arts college located in Albany, NY. Siena’s soccer program plays at the Division 1 level in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).

“I was very lucky as my high school PE teacher knew the assistant at Siena,” Beeston said. “The assistant asked him if he knew of any midfielders that would be willing to come over and pointed him in my direction.”

Immediately, Beeston made an impact on the Saints by starting 18 of 19 games as a freshman. He also scored 9 assists that year, which had him tied for 19th nationally, and also tied the program’s season record. Other awards won during his years at Siena include making the MAAC All-Academic team, First Team All-MAAC, and MAAC All-Tournament. Beeston was always a team leader in goals and assists.

“I had a fantastic experience at Siena,” Beeston said. “The team became a family and it showed on the field, especially in my freshman and junior year. I had many accolades that I’m proud of, but we never won a conference championship which I’d swap all of these awards if it meant winning one.”

Even though a conference championship never came to fruition, the college game allowed him to transition from the English style of play to the American one.

“Although England is often credited as a country with a lack of technique in their game, I found the players to be better technically over in England compared to the U.S.,” Beeston said. “However, the game over here is quicker as the players are more athletic.”

Photo credit: David Henry/

Photo credit: David Henry/

Beeston found his way to Western Mass by his friend and former Pioneers star Steve Covino (Covino also attended Siena, along with current Western Mass player Mike Matera). Attending a tryout allowed Beeston to suit up for the Pioneers.

Immediately, Beeston became a fan favorite and on field leader. That season had mixed emotions for him, because Western Mass started at an incredible 6-0-1, but four consecutive defeats in the second part of the year dropped them from playoff contention.

Success at the PDL level allowed Beeston to achieve a dream of his – to become a professional soccer player with the Western Mass Pro Soccer Club.

“Being on the practice field every day playing the sport you love and getting paid is a bonus,” Beeston said. “I’ve had to sacrifice things in order to be in the position I’m in, but I’m fine with it. It’s a sport where you’ll have the chance to play at a higher level if you consistently perform well – that’s what drives me.”

Already, Beeston has noticed that the teams he is facing have both athleticism and high quality players from different nationalities and soccer backgrounds. These challenges force him to bring his A-game, every game.

Of course, playing at venerable Lusitano Stadium is another reason for Beeston to boost his abilities.

“Our fan base is best in the league and it’s always a carnival atmosphere when we play at home” Beeston said. “The fans are real soccer fans – they know their stuff and are very loyal. They motivate you to play well – if you are playing well then you can hear their encouragement, but if you don’t play well then you’ll be hearing from them too!”

On the field, Beeston’s goal is to outplay his opposite number. In his view, every player is accountable for his direct opponent. By simply outplaying him, the odds of winning the game increases. To that end, Beeston always seems to be in position to slot that perfect pass to a streaking teammate or take a shot on goal himself.

Beeston also prides himself in his ability to distribute the ball to change the point of attack, and be the anchor between the defense and the attacking midfielders/strikers.

“If I’m playing as an attacking central-midfielder, my first thought is head towards the goal,” Beetson said. “If my teammate has a better goal scoring opportunity, then I’ll look to slip them in.”

Beeston’s vision and technique are his strongest assets on the field, and he is improving the timing of late-runs into the box as the central-midfielder and shooting with his right foot.

After his professional career, Beeston plans on coaching. He is in his first year as assistant coach at The College of Saint Rose and reveling in it. Playing for Western Mass head coach Federico Molinari has also expanded his game.

“His tactics have affected me immensely in the short time I’ve been playing for WMPS” Beeston said. “His knowledge of the game is first-class. He doesn’t just tell you what you should be doing or where you should be, he explains why, and his expectancy of you to practice and play with intensity is something I enjoy.”

While Beeston has taken to Molinari’s tactics, the midfielder has also kept in mind a piece of advice his father gave him when he was young: Quality will withstand the test of time.

“He told it to me at a time when the bigger, more athletic guys were being picked ahead of me as I was very slight but was sound technically,” Beeston said. “It was the motivational boost that I needed at the time to keep me working hard.”

Beeston is still working hard on improving his game, and is one of the standouts on the team. Quality does withstand the test of time, and Beeston is hopeful that he can be a testament to that statement.

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