The first time I ever attended a Boston College men’s soccer game was for a selfish reason. I work with athletic operations as a ball girl for the team, so I had to hop on a Newton bus (which is brutal for an Upper kid like myself since I couldn’t figure out how Transloc works) and travel all the way to the soccer field to be at the game.
Personally, I am not that big of a soccer fan, but there was something about the team that attracted me. Even though I was obligated to go to the games so I could earn my ten bucks per hour, I enjoyed watching the boys play every second. Last year, the team made it to the Elite Eight, which is the best BC has ever done in its soccer history. The players work so hard on the field that they deserve more than drunk Newton boys attending their games.
This is why I want to write about why these people rock. I picked one player from each year and did a short interview with them. I hope this article will help you get to know the players better so that you gradually fall in love with the team like I did.
First, here is a short introduction to the four players I interviewed.
Name: Zeiko Lewis
Hometown: Pembroke, Bermuda
Position on the field: Midfield/Forward
Favorite soccer player/team: Ronaldinho and Chelsea FC
One non-athlete celebrity he would love to meet at his game: Kevin Hart
Name: Mohammed Moro
Hometown: Lakeville, Connecticut (originally from Ghana)
Position on the field: Midfield/Defense
Favorite soccer player/team: David Alaba and Marcelo and Liverpool
One non-athlete celebrity he would love to meet at his game: God or Malcolm X
Name: Simon Enstrom
Hometown: Huddinge, Sweden
Position on the field: Forward
Favorite soccer player/team: Zlatan Ibrahimovic and AC Milan
One non-athlete celebrity he would love to meet at his game: Drake
Name: Lasse Lehmann
Hometown: Munich, Germany
Position on the field: Forward
Favorite soccer player/team: Mesut Özil and Arsenal
One non-athlete celebrity he would love to meet at his game: Angelina Jolie
Do you like the team this year?
Zeiko: This is a special team. Everyone gets along and that is definitely making my senior year more enjoyable. No matter what happens, we make each other smile in the end.
Mohammed: The team this year is better than previous years. We have a young and nice team, but we are not so experienced. However, we are always ready to play.
Simon: I like it better than last year. We have more quality players. And I feel like we are tighter this year. We have a better chance of moving further in the tournament.
Lasse: It is a very nice and welcoming team and didn’t give me a hard time settling in. It has a lot of potential. I adapted very well. I was surprised about some kids’ talent and I get along with the kids well on and off the pitch.
What does soccer mean to you?
Zeiko: I guess it is just part of my life. I have been playing soccer ever since I could walk. It brings the ups and downs in my life. My whole family plays soccer. My grandpa, uncle, and my dad played professionally.
Simon: It meant everything when I was little. Now it is more about friendship and everyone that I got to meet because of soccer. Soccer has been a priority in my life and it always will be. My parents both played soccer so I played, too. I got stuck to it and didn’t want to try anything else.
Mohammed: It means the world to me. Right now I am hurt [an injury from the Syracuse game is keeping Mohammed off the field for 46 weeks] and it’s awful. I can’t really explain it. Soccer makes me happy and gives me a break from everything else. When I am playing, it’s like I’m on autopilot. Soccer is within me. In Ghana, it is the only thing you see people doing. It was really nice because I have a ball so I get to play with the older kids.
Lasse: It is always a part of my life. I grew up with it and played a lot of emotional games. I also get to see how sports impact society. When I was three, my dream was already playing professionally.
What is the one thing that motivates you the most on the field?
Zeiko: Winning. It may sound cliché, but a win out on the field is what makes everything feel worthwhile.
Mohammed: Having the opportunity to go to school. I am on scholarship here and a lot of people would die for that opportunity. I also want to make sure I’m having fun.
Simon: The feeling after the game, I guess. I want to have a good night of sleep after the game, so I want to win.
Lasse: Winning. I want to give BC something back in return since they accepted me and gave me a scholarship. Also my teammates, so I won’t let them down.
How is being a captain different from being a player?
Zeiko: More responsibilities, definitely. You feel harder when the team loses. However, at the end of the day, there’s no big difference between being a captain or not. It doesn’t affect how I play. I just want to motivate my team.
What are your plans for after college?
Zeiko: Play professionally if I can. If not, I want to work around the sport.
Mohammed: Play pro. In America, being an international student, I can keep my windows open. If soccer doesn’t work, I want to go to graduate school. God has plans for everyone.
Simon: I don’t know right now. I love my major, so I am excited if I get a normal job. It would also be great if I get to play professionally. I am just taking it as it comes.
Lasse: Playing professionally. But also I have a good backup now. Maybe going into the business world if soccer doesn’t work.
Do you like being an offense/defense player? Why did you choose that?
Zeiko: Because defense sucks… Just kidding. Offense gives me a license to be creative. With the ball at my feet, I get to express who I am.
Mohammed: I don’t care where I play on the field. As long as I’m doing something that helps the team. I played everywhere on the field, even goalie once. I just love being on the field.
Simon: I’ve always done it. I love the hunt for the goal and the feeling of being the most “important” position in the game and the one who can change the game.
Lasse: Really depends on how you grew up. When I have time, I always have a ball at my feet to dribble. It’s the philosophy of offense. I just happened to have the technical ability and talent of offense when I grew up.
What is the difference between playing here and playing at home?
Zeiko: Fitness. The game here is more physical. The defense is not as strong so everyone gets to be more creative.
Mohammed: Ghana was way more intense. When I was a kid, I just wanted to go pro. Here, I am trying to play and go to school at the same time and I have to spend time doing both things.
Simon: Here, you are a human. The coach cares about our feelings and understands we are student athletes and have a lot going on. And I get to make my own decisions.
Back home you are a robot. It’s just about the team and soccer. The coach expects you to be ready all the time without caring about anything else. I was close to quitting soccer in Sweden so I could just go to school. The U.S. system fits me perfectly.
Lasse: The difference is mentality, technical aspects, and knowledge about the game, like when to pass the ball. It’s mainly due to soccer being bigger in Germany. In Germany, you can’t study if you play pro.
How do you feel about not having a strong fan base?
Zeiko: That part sucks, but you get used to it. This year we have way more fans than last year, so that’s a good sign. It’s nice when a lot of people show up, but we respect the American culture.
Mohammed: It is the nature of U.S. sports. If you look at it, soccer has not been a U.S. sport until recent years. That’s why there are more fans at other games. BC is not marketing or trying to get people to the game. Simple things like free t-shirts would help. We are doing better now and more fans are coming. The school could do something to speed it up.
Simon: I think we have to serve the fans. You have to earn the fans. We try to continue to win and the better we do, the more people will show up. We did really well last year, so the school wants to build on that. I think in my junior year, more people will come. If we do well as a team, the rest will come along.
Lasse: The crowd motivates the players more. Cheering is always good and helps us play. The best way to promote soccer is to achieve good results and with the team it’s good performance that spreads the sport.
If you had to play another sport, what would it be?
Zeiko: Cricket or track.
Do you have any expectations for this season?
Zeiko: We have a better team this year. It depends on how we react at the time. I believe we can go further in the tournament.
Mohammed: I know for most of the returners, we are looking forward to repeat what we did last year and go further. I believe we can do better.
Simon: Of course make it further than last year. Final Four or even College Cup. Seniors are leaving this year, so we want to make history.
Lasse: Since they were in the Elite Eight, that sets a high standard. We just need to develop as a team and achieve something great here. Coach always says “next year,” but it should be this year.
The team is playing Louisville on Friday, September 30 at 7 p.m. on the Newton campus soccer field, so come support them!
Photo Two. All other photos courtesy of the author.