This story first appeared in the September 2017 edition of The Hilltop.
While being ranked sixth in the nation is definitely an impressive aspect of the men’s soccer team, the idea of nine countries being represented alongside Corban’s blue and gold banners is an accomplishment in its own right.
“We have nine different countries on the team,” said Daniel Ziesemer, a ministry major from Salem. “All of those different countries have different styles and different cultural norms and bringing that into one team is really exciting. I love seeing it!”
Some obstacles come into play with such a large, diverse group of young athletes.
In the beginning stages of training, most of the transfers and incoming freshmen noticed that trust was something that would have to be developed among the players if they were going to succeed. Communication was and still is a little choppy with the flurry of accents and various languages being spoken on the field.
“Sometimes, it’s hard to communicate with each other because of cultures and different backgrounds, but people try to understand each other and make a good environment to play soccer,” said Kazuki Tateishi, a business major from Gujo Gifu, Japan.
Despite the slight obstacles the team has faced, they have found that the simplest answer to their adversities is their common love for the game.
“Soccer is a universal language,” said Wyatt Erickson, an intercultural studies major from Sentani, Papua, Indonesia.
Despite the barriers that might be on the team, it’s their dedication to the sport that motivates them to breach those obstacles.
“When you play soccer, everyone just loves the game,” said Wade Coetzee, a business major from Cape Town, South Africa. “That’s what I like; there’s so much passion for the game.”
Diversity gives the soccer team a new perspective, and it also provides different abilities and skill levels that may not be as prevalent in America.
“I’m very happy to be able to play on this team, meeting everyone from different cultures and learning from everyone on the team because I think life is a learning process, and you learn more everyday,” said Yohanes Susanto, a mathematics major from Jakarta, Indonesia.
Corban seeks to be a beacon in the recruitment processes of many players from many different places who are drawn here, not only for the impressive stats, but also for the strong Christian values.
“I think it’s really beneficial to have a lot of different cultures and a lot of different backgrounds in one team because it provides more insight on what the world is doing – not just in soccer but in faith,” Ziesemer said.
On a team that’s ranked so highly, it can be easy to give in to the pressure of high expectations. Nevertheless, the players remain confident.
“I think Corban has a lot of skillful and talented players who work hard as well,” Coetzee said. “When you’re in that kind of environment, it encourages you.”
Soccer is one of the many ways Corban is continuing to bridge the gap between the campus and the rest of the world.