Five-year-old Andrew Farrell was already tearing up the soccer pitch in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, when his missionary parents gave him and his siblings the news: the family was moving to Lima, Peru. The young player was about to move away from the only home he’d ever known.
“That [time] was pretty hectic,” Farrell recalled recently. His biggest fear at the time was the thought of his parents holding a garage sale before the big move and selling his favorite toy castle. But the idea of separating from the only physical home he’d ever known weighed heavily. “I kind of understood what was going on — we were going for a good, good cause. It wasn’t like we were going to say goodbye and we were never going to see our friends again, but it ended up being ten years until we came back.”
So the young Farrell found home a different way. After landing in Lima, soccer became the language he used to find a place that felt like home.
You don’t need languages to play sports, Farrell explains. “If you know how to play, you know how to play. You can get through [the language barrier] just by playing and immersing yourself. Being able to play soccer at recess, in the parks, or with the neighbors that we just met on the first couple of days there — it made the transition so much easier.”
It was the beginning of a life full of both small-town familiarity and international cosmopolitan adventures. Farrell became fluent in Spanish and dazzled classmates with his ball skills. After a move back to the U.S. at age 15, Farrell played for three seasons at Atherton High School in Louisville, earning both all-district and all-state honors during his senior season. From there, he played three years for the University of Louisville — a hotbed of soccer talent that has produced pros including Nick DeLeon of MLS club Toronto FC and Paolo DelPiccolo of Louisville City FC in the United Soccer League. In 2013, Farrell reached the top of the American men’s soccer world as the number one pick in the MLS SuperDraft. He moved to Boston to play for the New England Revolution — a brand-new chapter in a stellar soccer life.
“I was excited to get to a new team, but being the number one draft pick doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to start,” Farrell remembers. “You have to work as hard as everybody. You have to prove yourself to the veteran guys. There were ups and downs [my rookie year], including being away from family for the first time, especially because I went to school close to my parents and my family and my support system.”
Despite the challenges, Farrell flourished, and the Revolution made it all the way to the MLS Cup, the season-ending championship game, in 2014. In 2016, he reached another all-time professional goal when he represented the Revolution in the MLS All-Star Game against Premier League superteam Arsenal.
Through it all, home has always been where his heart is. It was his mom Ruth who suggested that Andrew start looking at investments once he began earning his MLS salary. His girlfriend Audrey’s father was a realtor. Audrey’s brother took him around Louisville to look for the house he would eventually buy with financing from Chase, the one he’ll move into when his playing days are over, in the city that has always felt most like home for him despite his globetrotting lifestyle.
“At some point professional athletes need to think about what’s coming next — you can’t play sports forever, you know?” Farrell says. “You always have to think of what’s next, and where you’re going to want to settle down and start a family.”
When it came time for Farrell to think about financing his future home, he reached out to the professionals at Chase for advice. “They were always there whenever I called and needed a question [answered],” Farrell says. “They were just super helpful throughout the whole process, and it obviously made the transition into buying a house so much easier.”
The three-bedroom house Farrell chose stands on a corner lot in Louisville, just eight minutes from his parents’ house and only two blocks from Audrey’s home. There’s a large living room on the first floor, bedrooms on both the first and second floors, an ample backyard for Farrell’s dog Rufus, and, Farrell hopes someday, children of his own. The house needs a little work (he’s got a bathroom remodeling project in mind), but by all accounts, it’s the place that says “home” to him even with his pro career in Boston still in full swing.
While he’s still playing with the Revolution, Farrell is using his home to provide a home for others, specifically a former soccer player from the University of Louisville and two of her friends who are themselves getting their careers and adult lives started. It’s all part of Farrell’s life story, where the model of giving back to others started early, and where finding a home base has always been as simple as finding a soccer ball and teammates to share the journey.
Farrell’s advice for those just starting the journey to becoming first-time home owners? Keep your team close by and rely on them to help you know when the time is right to say “yes” to the home that’s just right for you.
“Find somebody to work with that you really trust who will help you the best they can,” Farrell stresses. “Know what you really want in a house, and how much you want to spend. Trust the people who are around you and who have your best interest in mind.”