Ludlowe’s Crawford is top of his class on and off the field
Calum Crawford only has time for two things right now.
School and soccer. In that order.
The Ludlowe senior is a captain and center midfielder on the boys soccer team which has started this fall 5-1-1.
He is also a student in the academically rigorous International Baccalaureate Program at McMahon in Norwalk, which he is doing remotely due to the pandemic.
Though school and soccer take up most of his waking hours, he would not have it any other way after not knowing if any of it would be happening this summer.
“Right now, it has been super hectic. I go to a magnet school in Norwalk for an IB program. There are a lot of essays and other stuff we have to do. Right now, I don’t have much of a life other than soccer and school,” Crawford said. “In the preseason, we really didn’t know what was going on. Now that it is midway through the season we are more comfortable with the procedures and everything going on. I know for me and the fellow seniors, we were worried that the season was going to get canceled. It’s looking good right now. I am pretty excited that we have gotten to play this much and are looking good to finish the season.”
Crawford approaches soccer in the same cerebral way he does his studies. He also puts all of himself into both whether it is writing an essay or being the hardest working player on the field at every practice.
“His greatest asset is his work rate. To put it simply, when Calum starts going in the middle of the field, we start going,” Ludlowe coach Kevin O’Hara said. “He’s kind of quiet but he’s a very smart boy. He understands what he has to do, but also what everyone else is doing. He’s really started to come out of his shell now and taking on that leadership role. If we had a real FCIAC season, I think we would have seen that he was one of the top five players in the FCIAC.”
As it is, Crawford was a First-Team All-FCIAC pick as a junior and was named to the GameTimeCT 25 Players to Watch this preseason.
Crawford played an attacking center midfielder last season, scoring seven goals with 12 assists.
This year, he has moved to a holding center midfielder in the Falcons 4-4-2 formation which uses two center midfielders, one attacking and one holding. That formation works with the holding midfielder staying closer to the defense, but also starting many of the attacks by winning possession and advancing the ball with passes forward.
“We started him at attacking center-mid but he’s more of a holding-mid. We moved him to holding mid a few games ago and it’s already made a total change in our play,” O’Hara said. “Even though I would like for him to get forward, he is a workhorse in the middle of the field. He’s a kid that can just control and win the middle of the field. He’s not super big or strong but he fights for every loose ball and always has the scrappiness to win them. He’s so good at winning the ball and getting us going forward.”
Crawford immediately embraced the role of holding midfielder and how it provides him a clear look at everything happening on the field and plays to his strengths as a player.
“I love it,” Crawford said. “I like attacking-mid but I have always been more of a defensive minded player. I like being able to see the whole field. We play a diamond formation that relies on high press and switching and I’d say that’s one of my best attributes is the ability to look up, see the field and then play to the other side. I am really enjoying it. I got it all in front of me.”
With the traditional FCIAC season wiped out, Ludlowe is in FCIAC-East Region, playing against Trumbull, Bridgeport Central, Harding, Bassick, St Joseph and crosstown rivals Warde and Fairfield Prep.
Ludlowe, with a mix of senior and junior experience and a talented sophomore class, felt it would have contended for both the FCIAC and the CIAC Class LL titles this fall.
“It’s tough. Especially in my senior year. I really want to be going up against more of the traditional FCIAC teams we play. Staples, Greenwich, Wilton is looking really good this year. I would have liked to play all those teams,” Crawford said. “There are advantages to this season as well. We play Warde and Prep twice. It is super exciting to get to play these town rivalries. We have grown up with all those kids and it has been nice getting to play them multiple times this year. I am disappointed that there won’t be a FCIAC or state tournament but I really just love being out here with the guys. Senior year has been my favorite year.”