Charleston Battery Legend Returns To Blackbaud Stadium

One of the most well-known Charleston Battery soccer players will be taking the field on Aug. 27—but this time he will be playing opposite his former team. Paul Conway has spent the 2005 season playing soccer on the west coast for the Portland Timbers where his dad, Jimmy Conway, is the assistant coach.

Conway ended his seventh year with the Charleston Battery last season and began studies at the Charleston Law School. However, after completing his first year of law school, Conway’s desire to play professional soccer was still very much alive.

As Conway makes his return to Blackbaud Stadium, many emotions run through his mind. “I’m obviously excited to play in the stadium. I have good memories of playing here and it’s always great to play in front of people you know. But, this is an important game for us and we [Portland Timbers] need points [for the playoff run]. When I’m out on the field I have a job to do.”

It’s not surprising to those who know Conway that he’s still playing soccer; his love of the game has deep roots. Mom, Noeleen, says that her son started kicking around a soccer ball from the time he learned to walk. In fact, for the past 30 of his 35 years Conway has been playing soccer, whether on a club team, in school or at the professional level. Although his dad was a professional soccer player and Conway grew up around other professional soccer players, Noeleen says the love of the sport was totally Paul’s. “His dad and I always believed that a child’s interest has to be what they are interested in. Starting at a very early age, Paul always wanted to have his own soccer ball to play with. In fact, one of my best memories of Paul playing was when we were living in England. Paul was so young; he would come home from school and play soccer in the street with the kids in his neighborhood. They would throw their jackets down and play very spontaneously; they had their own rules and there were no restrictions.”

Despite the elder Conway’s playing and coaching experience, it wasn’t until his son was 15 years old and part of the Olympic Development team that Conway was formally coached by his dad. The team went on to win the Nike Friendship Cup, becoming the first team in Oregon to win the coveted title. “My father has been a great influence in my life, as were his peers. I feel fortunate to have grown up in the profession and to have had the privilege of being a part of the professional training environment as well as the social environment.”

Conway later attended Hartwick College where he was an All-American. Hartwick is also where he met his future wife Jennifer and long-time friend and former Charleston Battery goalkeeper, Todd Hoffard. “I have known Paul since my freshman year at college in 1990.  He was a year older than me and was already part of the Olympic Team and National Team, I was obviously a bit intimidated by him. I will never forget the day that Paul “tattooed” my chest with the imprint of a ball on a breakaway on the second day of pre-season my freshman it a welcome to the big leagues event for me, I guess. As the season went on, I became to really look up to Paul for his soccer ability but as a person in general.”  

 After graduating from Hartwick College in 1992, Conway spent the next six years playing in England for Oldham Athletic FC, Carlisle United FC and Northhampton Town FC. During Conway’s time at Carlisle, the club achieved a League Two Championship medal (1995), an additional league promotion (1997), and had two AWS Cup Final appearances at Wembley Stadium (1995, 1997).

Following his 1997 appearance at Wembley Stadium, Conway was signed by Battery Coach Nuno Piteira.  Tony Bakker, Charleston Battery owner comments, “He had scored goals with regularity in England and had a reputation for being an excellent professional. In 1998 he played in central midfield but in 1999 Coach Alan Dicks moved Paul up front and the rest is history.”

And what a history, Conway is the all-time Battery leader in games played (194), goals scored (91) and assists (34). Conway has always been known for his dedication to the sport and his team. Current Charleston Battery center mid-fielder Justin Evans says, “Paul was the staple for the Battery. He is a consummate professional in what he brings to the practice field. He shows up and plays injured, all for the love of the game.”

Tony Bakker adds, “Paul has always been a model professional and the fittest player on the team. He is very competitive with a great desire to win. He was one of the key leaders on our 2003 A-League Championship team, along with other veteran players Mark Watson, Dusty Huddock and Ted Chronopolous. Paul is a very skillful and intelligent player. Although not blessed with a lot of speed he has a great knowledge of the game, particularly from a positional point of view. He is always in the right place at the right time. I would compare him to Teddy Sherringham who, at 39 years of age, is still scoring goals in the English Premiership.”

Conway can be considered a quintessential athlete. He loves all sports and has a great appreciation for what each sport offers. Perhaps next in line to his love of soccer would be Conway’s affinity for the game of golf. And like his performance on the soccer field, Conway brings the same level of sportsmanship to the golf course. Former Battery teammate, Canadian National Team member and fellow golfer, Mark Watson adds, “Unfortunately, Paul is a very good golfer, which makes him a terrible golfing partner when it comes to your ego. However, Paul is truly a class act and role model to other players on how to conduct their lives. He’s a leader on the field and a classy intelligent guy off the field.”

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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