Elliot Fauske (right): “I got to speak in front of a lot of schools, do assemblies and talk to kids about good character and working hard. It was really fun interacting. It was really rewarding.”
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Before joining the Rochester Lancers for their inaugural indoor season in 2011, Elliot Fauske didn’t know whether he was going to play soccer again.
The man who was known as the Mohican Warrior, thanks to his spiked Mohawk hairstyle during his Lancers days, had suffered a traumatic brain injury while working construction in 2008.
“The injury really affected me cognitively,” he said. “My brain flood was over stimulation of movement, so it made playing soccer really difficult after that as far as all the movement in soccer and all the decision making in real time. It really affected my ability to make decisions. I went back to playing in a limited sense, but it was very redemptive.
“It meant the world to me because I had quit playing soccer when I was 25.”
Thanks to his play and Mohican Warrior character on the field, Fauske became a fan favorite and on Friday, Jan. 31, the Spokane, Wash. native will become a member of the first induction class of the Lancers Wall of Fame in ceremonies prior to the Baltimore Blast game at the Dome Arena in Henrietta, N.Y.
“Super grateful and that Soccer Sam would appreciate what I’ve done,” Fauske said, referring to Lancers owner Salvatore “SoccerSam” Fantauzzo. “He’s really good about appreciating people who put in a lot of work to make this happen.”
A fan favorite, Fauske won the team’s Community Service Award for three consecutive years. The award was given to the player that best exemplifies character and dedication to the community and Fauske certainly was a perfect fit for that, attending many school assemblies in the Rochester area.
“I got to speak in front of a lot of schools, do assemblies and talk to kids about good character and working hard,” Fauske said. “It was really fun interacting. It was really rewarding.”
His words of wisdom to the students? “Encourage them to work that way in school and explain to them follow your passion,” he said. “Don’t neglect responsibility on the way.”
Fauske, 38, who is a color commentator on their streamed TV home games, played for the Lancers during their first four indoor seasons. He is a para educator for special-needs students at Mercer Island High School in Mercer Island, Wash. and coaches four youth soccer teams for Mercer Island FC.
“Elliot made his mark by being a good Lancer player but more importantly by being a role model with a character in the Mohican Warrior,” Lancers head coach Doug Miller said. “He carried it through even beyond playing. He goes about doing that in such a professional matter that he impacts kids and communities that he’s involved with.”
A defender for most of his Lancers career, Fauske remembered when he made an offensive impact, scoring twice as a midfielder in a game during the 2012-13 Major Indoor Soccer League season.
“It was the end of the game against Milwaukee we had never head beaten them and we had to win to make it into the playoffs, i believe,” he said. “The coach didn’t play me. The coach wasn’t really fond of me at the end of the season and I had two shifts and had two goals. So that was fun. That was our first time beating Milwaukee. It kept our chances of making the playoffs alive.”
Fauske also made his mark with his Mohican Warrior persona, scoring a header goal.
“That was a crowd pleaser because everybody always wondered what would happen if I headed it,” he said. “I had a lot of headers, but to score a goal was punctuating.”
The Mohican Warrior also danced at halftime of a game with Lancer Louie and the Junior Lancer Dancers several years ago. Before that, he had gotten a concussion and was sidelined for a while.
“I had no idea that i would be back in time and so I didn’t think I would be playing,” Fauske said. “I had played the first half, go in put on purple spandex and sequins bought in a thrift shop and then go dance. Halfway through the song, me and Lancer Louie would come out and finish the song. Then I would have to go back into the locker room and put my jersey back on and go compete again.”
Fauske then chuckled.
“It was the most ridiculous thing in history, but I got a kick out of it,” he said. “It was super fun in a way. It was just absurd. I was in a Mohawk with totally sequins, probably an old lady’s shirt, super shiny and some tight spandex, purple pants. That was my 15 minutes of fame.”
On Jan. 31, Fauske will get some more fame as he will be one of 20 individuals inducted into the Wall of Fame before the Major Arena Soccer League game between Rochester and the Baltimore Blast kicks off.
Tickets are still on sale for the event at RLancers.com or at the Dome Arena box office the day of the game.