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A humble star with Tottenham Hotspur roots, LouCity’s Cam Lancaster has carved his own legacy

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 11/02/23, 2:20PM EDT


In the same season as Kane and Adebayor in Spurs’ Legacy Numbers project, the English forward has become a club legend an ocean away

With 84 goals in the USL Championship for the club, Cameron Lancaster has forged a major legacy already for Louisville City FC since arriving prior to its inaugural season in 2015. | Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC

Picture this – you’re a young player at one of England’s biggest clubs, and every day you share the training ground with world-class players like Gareth Bale, Harry Kane, Luka Modric, Emmanuel Adebayor and more.

For Cameron Lancaster, it was everything you could imagine.

“When you train with that caliber of player, they always bring out the best in you,” said Lancaster this week. “I remember even just watching some of the striking sessions, just finishing, and I took a lot of tips and things from those.”

Last week, Tottenham Hotspur announced its Legacy Numbers initiative to record the history of the club, assigning a number to every player who has competed for the team since its first game in 1894.

Checking in at No. 773 is Lancaster, part of the same class that made their debuts in the 2011-12 season as Kane, Adebayor, and other well-known names like former United States goalkeeper Brad Friedel, Louis Saha, and Scott Parker.

As a London native who came through the club’s Academy, it was a moment to reminisce about his start in the game.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Lancaster. “There was a lot of competition there. I mean, even on that list, that was – I want to say – half of my age-group, so there was a lot of competition. There’s a lot of players in that list and in my age group that have gone on to do a lot of really special things in their career at the highest level as well. So, it was tough, there was a lot of competition, I had great coaches in Tim Sherwood, Les Ferdinand, Chris Ramsey.

“It was a time that I definitely look back on with fond memories.”

Cameron Lancaster has scored nine goals this season, including three in the postseason to lead LouCity back to the Eastern Conference Final. | Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC

Unfortunately for Lancaster, injuries meant his lone appearance for Spurs in the Premier League came on January 31, 2012 against Wigan Athletic. Three years later, after further injury setbacks, Lancaster found himself in Louisville to try out for the newly launched USL Championship club in the city.

“Honestly, it was my last chance of doing anything with my career,” he said. “Coming over here on a whim and hoping for the best, knowing that if I really put my head down and worked hard that I can definitely make something of myself. Thankfully the trial went well, and I was able to get some minutes under my belt. I just progressed from there.”

That’s certainly an understated way to describe the career Lancaster has put together for Louisville City FC.

But according to LouCity Head Coach Danny Cruz, that’s who Lancaster is.

“He’s a humble human being as a person,” said Cruz. “He’s not outspoken, but he’s well spoken. And he is fun to be around.”

The numbers and accomplishments, however, are worth shouting about.

Lancaster’s 84 goals across the regular season and playoffs are not only the most in LouCity’s history, but by an individual player for one club in the USL Championship era.

His strike rate of a goal every 114.7 minutes on 89 goals overall in the Championship’s regular season and playoffs – including his brief sojourn at Nashville SC – is the best among players with at least 25 goals in the league.

He set the current Championship single season goalscoring record in 2018 with 25 goals in 30 regular season appearances. His strike rate that season? An unearthly 80.2 minutes-per-goal.

He’s one of only two players in USL Championship history with multiple 20-goal seasons.

He sits tied with teammate Brian Ownby for the most postseason goals in league history with nine.

He scored the game-winner when LouCity earned its first league title in 2017.

It’s quite the resume.

And yet, Lancaster is as appreciative of what Louisville City has offered him as it is of what he’s accomplished for the club.

“It’s been great to be here from the first year,” he said “Just comparing the two training grounds from the first day to today is just like night and day. It’s crazy. But to see the growth of the club and how popular it has become and how much work they do with the community just to give back, it’s really good to see. It’s nice to be part of as well.”

“You would think that a guy that has scored as many goals as he has in his career, I don’t want to say would be a little bit less humble, but more outspoken about it. You know?” added Cruz. “He’s certainly a really humble human being who’s constantly hungry and wants to win.”

Cameron Lancaster has scored nine goals in the USL Championship Playoffs, tied for the all-time lead, one of numerous notable numbers he has accumulated in the USL Championship. | Photo courtesy AceShot Media / Memphis 901 FC

As Lancaster learned from Kane, Bale and Adebayor as a young player, meanwhile, the qualities the 30-year-old brings to the training field are providing the same example for LouCity’s younger attacking corps.

“I think if anybody were to come watch training, and watch him just do finishing, he’s one of the best pure strikers of the ball that I’ve ever seen in my playing career, and in my coaching career,” said Cruz. “The amount of work that he puts in to have that ability, people don't really understand.”

The return of the injury bug from early in his career has limited Lancaster over the past two seasons – he speaks of the lack of preparation due to snowstorms last season as another challenge as LouCity reached the Championship Final but came up short to San Antonio FC – but with nine goals in 1,302 minutes this year he’s coming into form at just the right moment.

Lancaster has scored three times so far this postseason after last week’s two-goal outing against Detroit City FC and believes both he and the side are in a much better place than they were a season ago heading into Saturday night’s Eastern Conference Final against the Charleston Battery (7:30 p.m. ET | ESPN+ | Preview).

“It was just nice to put together a complete performance,” said Lancaster of the win against DCFC. “We’ve had some performances where we have been good in some areas but bad in other areas and against Detroit we were just really, really good in most areas. A lot of that came down to our mentality and our aggression. It was good to get the win, get some goals, get a clean sheet, that fills you with confidence going into the next game.”

As fellow 2011-12 classmate Kane is now to Spurs as its all-time leading scorer, Lancaster has carved his own legacy for a club an ocean away.

The spotlight might not be as bright as that of his former teammate, but for the understated star, it’s a position he holds proudly in the Derby City.

“It’s really nice,” said Lancaster. “I’ve always just wanted to score goals for my club, be successful and any appreciation that comes with that I obviously appreciate myself, so it’s nice to have that kind of support.”

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