Daniel Bowkett ’18 in action against American earlier this season. (Beverly Schaefer)
Daniel Bowkett '18 in action against American earlier this season. (Beverly Schaefer)

On a Princeton men’s soccer team led by a strong group of upperclassmen, sophomore midfielder Daniel Bowkett is one young player who has become a regular in the lineup this fall. This is Bowkett’s first true season on the squad, as a season-ending injury during the opening weeks of his freshman year kept him off the playing field last fall.

Bowkett’s background sets him apart from most of his teammates. Born in Australia, he spent the first few years of his life there before moving with his family to New Zealand. Bowkett quickly took to soccer growing up, progressing through elementary and middle school to become one of the strongest young talents in New Zealand. Bowkett eventually joined the New Zealand Under-19 Schoolboys National Team, and was named Player of the Tour during a trip to the United Kingdom.

But Bowkett knew at a young age that he wanted to attend college and play soccer in the United States.

“My thought of playing in the U. S. came along quite soon into high school, around Year 10, when I was 14 or 15 years old,” Bowkett said. “With New Zealand and soccer there, unless you go straight from school into the pros, there’s no intermediate pathway where you can pursue sports to a very high level. A lot of New Zealand players have come through the U. S. and the colleges here.”

While a number of collegiate programs pursued Bowkett, he ultimately decided to follow in the footsteps of New Zealanders such as Daniel Keat (Dartmouth ’10) and play Ivy League soccer. After tearing his meniscus within the first few weeks on campus, Bowkett saw his freshman season come to an end. Majoring in mechanical and aerospace engineering, as well as continuing his pursuit of the violin, Bowkett has kept busy in his time away from the field.

“I’ve been playing the violin for 15 years, which is something that my parents instilled in me as well,” Bowkett said. “It’s not just sports and academics: There’s a whole big world out there.”

Bowkett returned to campus this fall ready to play, and the last several weeks have shown that fact. The sophomore has not only made his way into the starting lineup, but also has begun to build his Princeton stat line. He most recently recorded an assist in a 4-1 win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Oct. 13. As a team, the Tigers have had an up-and-down season, with a 5-4-2 overall record and an 0-2-1 start in Ivy play.

A key for Bowkett’s early success has been his ability to quickly adjust to a style of play that is different from the one he grew up with in New Zealand. He hopes that this adjustment will enable him to contribute even more in the coming games and seasons.

“Because I was injured last year, I didn’t really get a feel for what the soccer was going to be like [here],” Bowkett said. “The first few games for me were just about getting used to the style. It’s fast paced, intense, and you need to get the ball forward as quickly as possible. You need results quickly here because the season is so much shorter than the 35-game season I’d have back in New Zealand. That fast-paced style of play was something I had to get used to, and I feel I’ve done that so I can help the team out more at midfield.”

Quick Takes

Women’s soccer posted a strong 3-1 victory at home against Columbia on Saturday. The Tigers improved their Ivy record to 4-0 and have outscored their conference opponents 13-3 this season.

Football fell to Brown in a tight 38-31 loss on the road. One week after scoring four touchdowns against Colgate, sophomore quarterback/wide receiver John Lovett rushed for two more touchdowns and hauled in a career-long 42-yard score en route to 186 yards of total offense.