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Wings’ Hoxie finds a new home

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, at 3:46 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, at 3:56 p.m.

Syracuse at Wings

When: 7:35 p.m. Friday

Where: Hartman Arena, Park City

Records: Syracuse 5-7, Wings 3-6

Radio: KGSO, 1410-AM

Andrew Hoxie played the first three years of his professional soccer career in Rochester, N.Y., but it was never really home.

Neither is Wichita, technically. But for Hoxie, the son of a former Air Force fighter pilot, it’s probably the closest he’s ever been to feeling settled.

Before this year, Hoxie had never spent time in Kansas. His dad Hal had, however, and in 2011 Hal Hoxie became the president of his alma mater, Central Christian College in McPherson. Hoxie’s brother, Aaron, is the men’s soccer coach there.

Shortly thereafter, Hoxie joined the Wings, reuniting a family that had grown accustomed to being on the move. Hoxie has lived in six states and in Korea. He was born in Enid, Okla.

“It’s nice,” Hoxie said. “The last game (against Missouri last Friday), I was able to have my entire family, my entire family, come out and watch a game. That’s the first time in a long time that that was able to happen.

“It’s nice having my dad and my mom and one of my brothers around. It’s great to have family around.”

Hoxie is playing like he’s right at home. Even as part of a struggling offense that has topped 10 points once since Nov. 2, Hoxie has been a bright spot. He’s second on the team with 21 points and he was the team’s most outstanding player as soon as he saw action in Wichita, scoring 14 points in the Wings’ first two games.

The Wings still own the league’s second-worst record, but have reached a point in the schedule, starting with Friday night’s home game against Syracuse, during which they have a chance to climb in the standings.

Eight of the next 12 games are at Hartman Arena and only three during that stretch come against the MISL teams with winning records, Milwaukee and Baltimore.

“We had so much talent coming into one team, and whenever you have that it’s going to take a while to mesh,” Hoxie said. “You can kind of see that with the (NBA’s Los Angeles) Lakers. In my mind, I’m comparing our team to the Lakers right now. They’re starting to figure it out with all that talent.

“We’ve got the same thing. We’ve got a lot of personalities in the locker room, a bunch of different guys, and guys are definitely starting to shine right now. It’s only looking up for the Wings right now. It can only be up, because we started out poorly.”

Basketball analogies come naturally for Hoxie. At 6-foot-4, he’s used to being asked if he plays the sport he calls his likely favorite.

Hoxie’s height and athleticism serve him plenty well in his chosen profession, though. His long legs produce shots at speeds few players can reach and his height allows him to more easily reach balls in the air.

Like most players with abnormal physical attributes, though, Wichita’s 26-year-old forward is still learning the best ways to use his.

“It’s an asset,” Hoxie said. “Sometimes I forget that I’m 6-4 and I don’t use my body as well as I should. I’m still trying to realize that I can push people around better and make my presence known.”

Hoxie is still refining his game from a mental standpoint. The Colonial Conference player of the year at William and Mary in 2009, Hoxie was drafted by San Jose of Major League Soccer.

Assuming his roster spot was assured, Hoxie said he didn’t approach training camp with urgency and failed to make the team. Hoxie is no longer taking such opportunities for granted and has remained focused on getting a chance to play in MLS.

For now, though, Hoxie is just happy to be home.

“I would say that’s my ultimate goal,” Hoxie said of playing in MLS. “But right now I’m with the Wings and I’m going to do the best I can to make this team win.”

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