image credit: SNHU Penmen

It wasn’t only until Saturday, September 29, that the Southern New Hampshire men’s soccer team lost its first game this season. Up until this game, the men were undefeated. They held a division leading 9-0 record. Despite this loss, the Penmen still rank number one in their division and seventh in the country.

Hailing from Spain, Alex Satrustegui (’19) returned to the field for the Penmen, but this time as a striker rather than a forward. Satrustegui is originally from Pamplona, Spain. He came to SNHU last year as a junior. Quickly, he integrated into the soccer team as one of the best players. He continues to stand out this season, perhaps more so than last season.

“There was a goal where I did a bicycle kick, and it was top five on ESPN. . . I also had a really good game when I scored four goals,” said Satrustegui. While his sheepish smile may showcase his constant modesty, the pride radiates through his eyes.

And proud he should be. So far this season, Satrustegui has scored 17 goals and made two assists, making him the national leading scorer in NCAA Division II.

While some could be intimidated or even bored by the success, Satrustegui is unwavering in his efforts on the field. “I’m just excited [for the game] and motivated to win, score, to be going forward. Never nervous. . . The goal number one is to be national champions. After that is to see how far we can go.”

That’s what stands out about Satrustegui. He is the definition of a team player. He’s sheepish in talking about himself, but when talking about his team, he is sure and confident.

“My goal everyday is to help the team to win the game. That’s the first thing I want to do. If I can help the team by scoring, then I’m happy. We lost a lot of players from last year, but a lot of good players came too. I think we have a better team than last year. We are a family too. They are the closest thing to family here.”

They are so much a family, Satrustegui even lives in an apartment with three other teammates. Not only has it brought them closer, but it has lead to success on the field. Satrustegui explained that now they “know each other perfectly,” as a result of the living arrangement.

While his soccer teams have been a family of sorts, he values his family back home in Spain above all else. Satrustegui shared that he’s made some sacrifices to achieve his dream of being a professional soccer player, such as missing out on plans or trips with friends and family and not going out at night in order to stay healthy for the sake of the game. Regardless though, every game involves a tradition.

“I rub my wrist and I put the letters of the names of my family and friends. They help me to be motivated for the game, because I know that they are watching live.”

His homesickness this year has been eased as he’s been able to welcome other international students into the soccer team’s family. “There are a lot of European players that came [this year], same as me. Everything is new, the culture, the studies, the university, the rules of soccer too. Everything is new, so you have to learn so quickly. . . Last year, I had someone to explain to me, so now I am doing the same.”

As for the future of the men’s team, well, Satrustegui knows they’ll be just fine.

“We don’t panic. Just keep going.”

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