Men's Soccer Receives Boost from Internationals
The second season of varsity men’s soccer at Governors State University is proving to be a successful one as the Jaguars occupy first place in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference heading into the final weeks of the regular season.
This year’s squad has a United Nations feel to it with student-athletes from 10 countries represented on the roster. GSU’s starting lineup consists of: goalkeeper Luis Ramirez (Peru), defenders El Hadji Mass Diouf (Senegal), Daniel Jonna (England), midfielders Hamzat Sanni (Nigeria), Marc Fernandez (Spain), Juan Manuel Rodriguez (Columbia) and Agustin Vivas (Argentina) along with forward Andy Latorre (Peru). Also filling starting roles are Illinois natives Dawson and Dylan Swearengen and Edson Gonzalez.
While GSU will continue to recruit local and in-state players, Head Coach Matt Eggert acknowledges the trend towards international recruiting.
“Where the CCAC is right now, for the last couple of years 100 percent of the first-team all-conference players and 50 percent of the second team players have been international students. There is also the diversity factor that benefits the entire team.”
From an academic standpoint, international students are well prepared for college life.
“A lot of the educational systems in South America and Europe are quite rigorous,” says Eggert. “One of the keys to success at the collegiate level is being able to manage your time, but also having the discipline to hit the books and go to class and I think the international students grow up in an educational system that requires that from an early age and that benefits them when they come here.”
The men’s soccer team had 14 players post grade-point averages of 3.00 or higher during the fall term and nearly half of them were international students.
The Jaguars, who play home games in Crown Point, qualified for the postseason in 2019 and had their 2020 fall season moved to the spring due to COVID-19.