Wilmington University striker Lorne Bickley has gotten his fair share of strange looks over the past three years when he’s told someone he’s from Jersey in a British accent.
“I get that a lot; I say Jersey then they go ‘you’re joking’ and I’m like no, no the original Jersey,” Bickley said in a recent interview for The Path Soccer Podcast.
One of the Channel Islands, Jersey is located between England and France. There are about 100,000 people who call the island home and some 33,500 in Bickley’s home parish of Saint Helier.
“In Jersey because it’s so small you play against the same people week in and week out,” he said.
Playing with Jersey national teams through the youth ranks afforded Bickley the opportunity to test himself against different competition and put him in high demand for college offers in the U.S. after he attended a showcase event in England. He ultimately decided to come to Delaware, a state he didn’t admittedly know much about before arriving his freshman year, because he was impressed with where the program was heading under head coach Nick Papanicolas.
After scoring 22 goals in his first two seasons, he missed all of last season and a good chunk of the spring with a knee injury but has not skipped a beat in front of goal in his return this season. He leads NCAA Division II in goals with 26 and is tied with SUNY Oneonta’s Witman Hernandez for the NCAA lead across all three divisions of men’s soccer.
With the 6-foot-4 Bickley leading the front line, Wilmington has posted a 17-2-1 record while averaging a jaw-dropping 4.55 goals per game to lead all of college soccer. English forward Abdul Mansaray has 17 goals and Jamaican Shawn Genus has 11 goals and 12 assists. Englishmen Joe Bell and Ben Jordan each have eight goals.
“Some teams only have one goal scorer, we’ve got plenty,” he said. “That doesn’t only benefit myself, it benefits those around me.”
As a team, they’ve outscored opponents 91-22. In 20 games.
While they fell short in their conference tournament, the Wildcats still rightfully made it into the tournament field with an at-large bid as a No. 5 seed and play the No. 4 seed Franklin Pierce away on Saturday. Two goals for Bickley would give him 50 for his career with still another season to play after their postseason campaign ends.