After an incredibly uncommon injury at training left him with a ruptured retina in his left eye, Andrew Farrell returned to the field much quicker than anticipated, sporting slick protective goggles over his eyes.
The New England Revolution defender is upbeat about his injury, recovery and, yes, the goggles. Farrell wears them with a certain confidence that has those in his life leaving compliments rather than jokes.
“My mom says it looks good, so, I might have to keep rockin’ ‘em,” Farrell told MLSsoccer.com with a laugh. “No one has crushed me on the team yet about wearing them. My family and my girlfriend say they look cool so maybe I’ll keep rockin’ ‘em all year.”
While Farrell is able to laugh now, the freak injury was more than a little unnerving. Sliding to block a shot in training, the ball crashed off the post and right into Farrell's unsuspecting face, rupturing his retina.
He lost vision in left eye for 5-6 hours.
“I just thought it was swollen shut but then I got in the bathroom, looked in the mirror and I could tell my eye was open but I couldn’t see out of it," Farrell said. "I was freaking out a little bit, like, obviously this is a big deal.”
Farrell showered and went to the hospital. By the end of the night, vision returned, albeit blurry. He compared it to looking out the window in a snowstorm.
The hard part came next for the 2013 MLS SuperDraft No. 1 overall pick: Doing absolutely nothing. Doctors prescribed bed rest, amongst eyedrops and all, for Farrell in the coming weeks.
“It was sucky," Farrell said. "The team was leaving for Florida, I was thinking maybe I can get well enough in the next two or three days — but they told me, ‘Yeah, you can’t do anything for the next two weeks.’ Stay in bed, can’t walk my dogs. How can I not walk my dog!”
Dutch midfield legend Edgar Davids (right) in a 2018 charity match, sporting goggles similar to Farrell's. Farrell says he has heard numerous comparisons to Davids from friends all over. | Action Images
Back in action with two starts under his belt, Farrell's new look is reminding most of Dutch soccer legend Edgar Davids, who starred for Ajax, Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Barcelona throughout a storied career. Perhaps most glaring on his impressive resume, though, is how synonymous he is with goggles on the soccer field.
“Oh my goodness, so many (people have mentioned Davids)," Farrell said. "All my friends from Peru, in the soccer world. I’ll take it, though, he’s a hell of a player.”
Farrell reckons he'll be required to wear the protective goggles for the next month or so. He doesn't mind them much; they haven't gotten in the way.
Maybe, like former NBA All-Star Rip Hamilton, Farrell may keep them around.
“You only have two eyes, you’ve got to protect them," Farrell said.