Steady cold rain streamed down from dark, ominous clouds in the misty New Hampshire sky. A strong wind blew through Larkin Field in the crisp September air. It was a stormy fall night, and the start of SNHU’s soccer season.
On the night of the SNHU Men’s Soccer team’s home opener, forward Alex Satrustegui stood in the middle of the field with rain dripping off his face, anxiously awaiting the ball. His white jersey and white bottom shorts were saturated; they were drenched- stiff and stuck to his body like thighs on a chair on a hot and humid day. Yet, the number 9 still illuminated off his jersey.
The score was tied at one, and it was overtime. The clock was ticking. Satrustegui knew he had to come up with something big to save the game.
He stood alone on the right end of the field facing Post University’s goalkeeper. When the center kicked the ball into play, Satrustegui chased it down until it became his. With none of his teammates around to help, the game was in Satrustegui’s hands.
With the game on the line, Satrustegui made a run for it. He dribbled the ball down the field past Post defenders. The defending goalie pounced in front of him, but Satrustegui was too quick. He maneuvered the ball around the goalie’s feet, and when he knew he had the opportunity, he punted the ball.
All eyes were on Satrustegui. Everyone stood still, holding their breath. The fans were on their feet warily awaiting what was going to happen next. His teammates stood anxiously across the field clutching their fists. Time stood still. Then it happened. As the clock ran out, the ball whisked through the air and into the top right corner of the goal. Satrustegui netted the winning goal.
He ran across the left side of the field cheering and chanting. His teammates breathed a sigh of relief before breaking into a congratulatory chant. They jumped on top of Satrustegui and patted him on the back. Everyone was ecstatic. Penmen pride was in the air that night at Larkin Field. Alex Satrustegui saved the game.
“Getting the winning goal is an amazing feeling,” said Satrustegui. “Soccer is the thing I like most in my life, and being able to save the game and get the winning goal is amazing.”
The winning goal in the matchup against Post was just one of three game winning goals Satrustegui has scored throughout the season thus far. In total, he has captured eight goals throughout ten games.
Satrustegui joins the SNHU community from Spain, where he played for the best team in Barcelona. Just last year, his Barcelonan team won its conference, and Satrustegui became the top scorer in the region. While in Spain, he attended the University of Navarra in Pamplona for two years before transferring to the US.
To find schools in America, Satrustegui partnered with a Spanish sports agency. They connected him to dozens of schools throughout the country, and he applied to almost all of them. However, Southern New Hampshire stood out.
“I did a skype call with JT [SNHU men’s soccer coach, Josh Taylor], and he told me about the school,” Satrustegui explained. “I really liked what he was saying. He told me everything about the team, as well as the school, and it seemed like a good fit.”
Taylor was very impressed with Satrustegui during the recruitment process, and believed he would make a great asset to the team.
“I was impressed with his level of play,” Taylor said. “Alex was very proactive during the recruiting process and showed the traits, both on and off the field, that we look for.”
In additition to the soccer program, another huge reason Satrustegui choose SNHU is it offers the program he wants to pursue: engineering. SNHU merged with Daniel Webster College this year, a school known for its engineering program. If SNHU never merged with Daniel Webster, Satrustegui would not have chosen to come to SNHU.
“I was really lucky to have applied when I did,” Satrustegui said. “I had really good timing and I’m glad they have the program I want. Despite everything I like about SNHU, like the soccer team, I would not be here if they did not have the program.”
Coming to SNHU is Satrustegui’s first time in America, and he has had nothing but positive experiences. He loves that he can play soccer for one of the best teams in the northeast while receiving a good education in the program of his interest.
As there are many aspects of the SNHU soccer team Satrustegui admires, Satrustegui loves how close it is. His teammates have given him a great foundation at SNHU, as well as in the US, and have welcomed him with open arms.
“Since I’m here, everyone has tried to help me, not only with soccer, but with everything,” he said. “If I have a problem or need help with something in my life, a teammate or a coach will help me, so I am grateful for everyone here.”
Coach Taylor is pleased with how well Satrustegui fits into the team. He said that “being new to a school and team, especially as an international student, can be difficult as there is typically an adjustment period.” However, he credits the “leaders and upperclassmen who do a great job integrating the new players into our culture.”
Satrustegui said that the team is a very tight knit community. They are a close team who, in Satrustegui’s words, are “like a family”. They partake in many team bonding activities that encourage their friendships to grow. On weekends or on days off from practice, Satrustegui and the team will go to the mall or the beach, and, whenever they can, go to the dining hall for dinner.
Not only is Satrustegui blessed to be on such a great team, Satrustegui’s teammates are beyond grateful to have him. Much like coach Taylor, they believe he is a great asset to the team, both on and off the field. Teammate Kiko Hernandez (Spain) said Satrustegui is “really fast on the field, which distinguishes him from other players,” while sophomore Romain Daniellou (France) said Satrustegui is a “great person who is extremely mentally tough; he’s a great player and a good finisher.”
Although he plays to impress himself and to be the best player he can be, Satrustegui believes that you are not playing the sport right if you are not playing for the team.
“The most important thing is being a team.” Satrustegui said. “It doesn’t matter who scored, the important thing is being a team. We are doing this together.”
Alex Satrustegui is the Penmen’s top scorer thus far in the season. He is a talented soccer player with a drive to succeed in America. He has demonstrated top athletic performances, shown through his gratitude toward his teammates and his ability to fight when a game is on the line.