When Casper Farver signed up for the foreign exchange student program in his native Denmark, he doubted he would play soccer during his year in the United States. From what he had heard about American soccer, he expected the level to be inferior to that of his home country.
"I was like, 'I'm pretty sure I'm not going to play soccer over there because I'm going to be the best one on the team,' " Farver said. "Luckily for me, that didn't turn out to be right."
The way the program works, Farver wasn't sure where he would end up. In essence, the family chose him. That turned out to be the Hines family, whose children attend Greenbrier High School.
When Farver arrived in early August, he discovered that he would have the opportunity to play on a travel team, the Augusta Arsenal. During his time with the team, he developed a friendship with teammate Tyler Sanders, a fellow senior at Greenbrier, as well as several other Wolfpack players.
Comfortable with his potential new teammates and realizing the talent Greenbrier's team had, Farver decided to play for the Wolfpack for the 2009-10 season.
It was a decision that Wolfpack head coach Chip Warren is thrilled he made, as Farver and Sanders have teamed up in central defense this season.
"Tyler is our vocal leader, and Casper is more of the emotional leader," said Warren, who has led Greenbrier to a 17-0-2 record and a spot in the final 16 in the Class AAAAA state playoffs.
At first, Farver said, on-field communication was difficult. So he used his on-field buddy.
"Now, I just tell Tyler what I want to say, and he tells everyone else," Farver said.
While each playoff game could be Farver's last in the United States, Sanders knows that each time the Wolfpack suit up, he could be playing his final game at Greenbrier.
"We have four games left," Sanders said, referring to how many victories it would take, in addition to the first round, to win the state title. "I expect to play that many. But it will be emotional, definitely, whenever I play my last game."
Farver and Sanders are two of the eight seniors on this year's squad. Sanders, who has started for three years, moved to main defense this season to shore up the back line, while Farver plays defense and moonlights as a goalkeeper if the team goes into a shootout.
"He plays keeper anytime we go into a shootout," Sanders said of his teammate. "He's amazing in net."
Ask Farver, and he'll tell you there is one sure sign that he has become accustomed to the area. The hot weather -- nothing like the New York-type weather in Denmark -- used to bother him. Now, he prefers it to the cold.
"I'd like to attend college here in the United States," Farver said, "whether I play soccer or not."
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