Sophomore Stays Involved Despite Injury


Birle discovered his passion for beat reporting after his second ACL injury in March 2022. (Courtesy of James Birle)

Coming from a Fordham family, James Birle, FCRH ’25, wasn’t initially sure if he wanted to be a Ram. With multiple family members earning both undergraduate and graduate degrees at Rose Hill, Birle thought about trying something different. Ultimately, he decided to follow in his family’s footsteps.

“Once I saw what Fordham had to offer with the location and the campus, I just fell in love with it,” said Birle. Now that he is here, Birle is taking full advantage of what the university has to offer.

An avid soccer player who competed at the varsity level for three years in high school, Birle is a member of Fordham’s Club Soccer Team. “It’s an incredibly competitive environment, but club soccer is such a great group of guys that almost feel like a family,” said Birle “It’s cliche, but that’s how I made some of my closest friends in college.”

But this past March, Birle tore his ACL for a second time after  already tearing it in high school. “I went in for a tackle in a game against Columbia, and my knee collided with the other guy’s leg,” he said. “It wasn’t incredibly painful but I knew right away that it was torn because it was the second time I’d done it.”

Because he lived at Rose Hill, Birle was unable to get surgery on his knee until the end of the spring semester. For six weeks, he was on crutches and couldn’t bear weight during the beginning part of the summer. 

“I was basically just laying down and watching a lot of TV, going to physical therapy and doing stretches,” Birle said. “That was about it until two months in when you can start to do strength stuff, which is where I’m at now.”

While on the sidelines, Birle’s role within club soccer has morphed a bit. “Now that I’m not playing, I’m becoming something of an assistant coach/permanent locker room guy. I’ve always been a very vocal guy on the field, barking orders at teammates. So I’m built for those types of things.”

Birle does not plan on hanging up his boots just yet despite the serious injury. “I plan on at least giving it a go. I can’t say whether it will be a full comeback, but we’ll see where I am with my rehab in the late spring,” he said. “If it feels good, I’m gonna keep playing because I love the game too much.”

Beyond the world of club soccer, Birle is also involved with WFUV Sports. As a credentialed beat reporter for the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer, Birle is getting the chance to cover one of his favorite childhood teams.

“It’s a dream come true to cover the Red Bulls and watch my favorite team from 30 feet away from the pitch,”’ said Birle.

As a beat reporter in college, every game involves learning more and more about the world of sports media.  “I don’t know the ins and outs of this business yet. I didn’t ask any questions at the first eight or nine press conferences I attended,” said Birle. “I just wanted to hear what other people were asking and how everything works.”

Now, Birle regularly asks questions in the Red Bulls media room in addition to providing live minute-by-minute updates of each game on Twitter. He is also a regular contributor to WFUV’s soccer podcast, FUV FC.

As someone who decided to give WFUV a try as a freshman, Birle has fallen in love with the station. “Everyone involved is so passionate and committed about what they do,” he said. “It’s a competitive environment, but it’s a positive bit of competition where everyone wants to showcase their talent. But at the same time, it’s incredibly welcoming.”

Birle will continue to cover the Red Bulls through the remainder of the MLS season as the club pushes for a playoff berth. Although he’s currently watching the sport he loves from the sidelines, Birle is making the most of his time as a Ram.