The University of St.Thomas’s men’s soccer team scored two big wins. Two of its student-athletes were recognized by the National Athletic Collegiate Athletic Association Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Senior finance major Carlos Marquez was named the SCAC Defensive Player of the Year, while junior economics and finance major Tom Hultsch was named the SCAC 2019 Men’s Soccer Elite 19.
Hultsch’s award is given to one student-athlete participating in fall sports from all conference schools, Clerihew said.
Marquez contributes a lot to the team, according to Ian Clerihew, the head coach of UST’s men’s soccer team, including leadership, positive attitude, and quality sportsmanship.
“He demonstrates how to do things properly on the field and is a great student,” Clerihew said.
Clerihew said although there aren’t as many statistics for defenders in soccer, Marquez led the team in goals this year, earning him the Defensive Player of the Year award.
“[It’s] great that he was able to earn that, because it was so well-deserved,” he said. “He was clearly the best defender in the league, and I’m really happy for him–very, very proud of him, and he is exactly the kind of student-athlete that St. Thomas wants.”
“It feels good to be recognized,” Marquez said. The award shows recognition of his high-quality playing, the fruits of his morning workouts, and his consistency, he said.
He prepares for each game by practicing every day, Monday through Thursday, before having a game on Friday, and takes care of himself by eating well, he said.
Before he began his college career, a friend from his hometown who was working as an assistant coach for UST’s women’s soccer team introduced him to the head coach of the men’s soccer team at the time, Daniel Balaguero. Balaguero invited Marquez to the team, giving him the opportunity to attend UST, Marquez said.
Hultsch, who was named SCAC 2019 Men’s Soccer Elite 19, likewise makes excellent contributions to the team, according to Clerihew, and also has one of the better GPAs on campus–3.98–even though English is his second language.
He loves to learn, is open-minded and has a thirst for knowledge, Clerihew said.
Hultsch’s leadership is invaluable and his preparation of the team was impressive, he added.
Hultsch, who was born in Germany, said he has been playing soccer since he was about 4 or 5 years old and that in Germany, playing soccer is the most natural thing to do.
“I wanted to come to the U.S to be able to combine academics and playing soccer at a high level,” he said, “That’s something that you can’t do back home in Germany.”
According to Hultsch, in Germany you either go to a university and put everything you have into getting your degree, or you can focus on soccer–but not both.
Hultsch said when he first received the Elite 19 award he did not know what it meant. However, that changed as more people began to explain its significance.
“It means a lot, I’m very grateful I got the chance to receive this award,” Hultsch said.
He said UST interested him because of its location in a big city and said he wanted to be somewhere where he could “make something out of himself.”
Both Marquez and Hultsch were second-year co-captains for the men’s soccer team this year. Marquez will be graduating in May 2020 and Hultsch will be a senior and third year captain next year.
According to Clerihew, both Marquez and Hultsch were voted into the captain positions by their teammates and the men’s soccer coaching staff.
“As captains we’re trying to create a family within the team,” Hultsch said.
Both players said they have a good relationship with each other, on and off the field.
“Their leadership was huge,” said Clerihew. “I just can’t speak highly enough of both of them as people and I have to get a lot more of those guys. They’re wonderful people, first and foremost.”
Moreover, Clerihew said their consistency and commitment to doing the right thing both in soccer and academically, while also being good citizens of the UST community, set them apart from their teammates.
In doing so, these men have set the standard for their team as well.
“Their strongest characteristics is their ability to lead in a group that has people from all different walks of life and bring them together in their own way,” he said.