By Lauren Kane
Andy Hylton is a fascinating guy. One might even call him, “The Most Handsome Man Ever to Play Soccer at Barry University,” as he did on his senior profile card. But that statement alone does not make Hylton fascinating. Instead, his passions, drives, and attitudes towards life make him stand out.
Hylton, originally from Essex, England, moved to the United States at the age of 21 to attend college. After discovering that Barry had an athletic training program, Hylton tried out for the soccer team and made it.
“I loved the school, the facilities were fantastic, and the program was ideal,” he explained.
Hylton was a member of the men’s soccer team from 1997-2000. After a disappointing freshman year, Hylton matured and transitioned from a player purely motivated to perform well individually to a sophomore and captain with a different focus.
“I realized that my performance was only a part of the picture,” he stated. “I had to attempt to get the best out of my teammates on the field.”
This perspective really hit home for Hylton during his senior season. He had dreams of becoming a professional soccer player, but felt he would only get exposure if the team did well.
“Success for me was to be measured by success for the team,” Hylton explained. His threefold role on the field as motivator, encourager, and disciplinarian, in addition to his outstanding performance earned him All-SSC, NSCAA All-South Region, and NSCAA All-American, propelled the Buccaneers to the NCAA Division II National Championship game. The final, which Barry lost in four overtimes to Cal State-Dominguez Hills, was one of the best in championship history as the other team scored in the 139th minute to win the game.
“I remember during the pre-season of 2000, one of the freshman came up to me and asked, ‘How good are we this year?’ I clearly remember telling him without a moment of hesitation, ‘We are going to win the whole thing.’ Unfortunately, I was wrong.”
Hylton gained a wealth of playing experience at Barry that helped bring him to the next level. After graduating with his degree in athletic training, Hylton signed his first professional contract in 2001 with the Carolina Dynamo of the Premier Development League, part of the United Soccer Leagues (USL). He then left the Dynamo to play for Great Britain in the World University Games, the equivalent of the Olympics for students. In 2003 and 2004, Hylton signed with the Charlotte Eagles of the USL Second Division. However, Hylton’s education at Barry came in handy: he signed with the Eagles not only as a player, but as an athletic trainer as well.
“The team in Charlotte also required an athletic trainer, so by virtue of my education, I signed with the team as both a player and the athletic trainer,” he said. After playing professionally for a few years, Hylton then worked as an athletic trainer in a sports-centered physical therapy clinic working mainly with athletes.
“The human body is fascinating, and I have a passion for sports,” he stated. “To be able to combine the two, being able to work in the athletic setting alongside athletes is the perfect job.” However, Hylton has recently turned in his resignation. He plans on returning to school full time in May and will attend the Medical University of South Carolina to become a physician assistant.
“To get where I am today is not about what I can achieve personally, it is more about whose life I can effect, and who I can help to achieve,” he affirmed. “Then maybe I can be successful, because the ultimate truth in life is not about me.”
Now you see why Andy Hylton is such a fascinating guy?
I hope so.