Sophomore Soccer Sensation Jesus Salazar Off To Hot Start
Sophomore Jesus Salazar started his Mount Saint Mary’s men’s soccer career with a bang, and his coaches noticed.
In the Mount’s first match, Salazar knocked in the match-winning goal in extra time to defeat Saint Peter’s University in his soccer debut. The performance, which included two other shots with one being on-target but defended, ended up earning him NEC Rookie of the Week honors.
Since that first match, Salazar has continued to thrive in his debut season. As of September 11th, he has started all four matches that the Mount has played, scoring one goal, getting an assist and playing in 356 combined minutes. The minutes’ number is significant; despite being a first-year player, Salazar has played at least 82 minutes in every game this season and has played 90 or more in three.
The rookie midfielder’s success may have come as a surprise to some, but certainly not his coaches.
“We’ve known how good [Salazar] has been,” said Assistant Coach Daniel O’Rourke. “We’ve known his ability for a very long time.”
Assistant Coach Trevor Singer further built on the idea that the coaching staff knew how good Salazar was coming into the season, saying that, “he has played at a very high level throughout his youth career. He’s actually been sought after by some professional teams already.”
Salazar has played with DC United’s U17-19 teams, scoring 14 goals and 17 assists over his three years there. He has also been a member of several championship squads, including the San Diego Surf Cup (2016), Copa Chivas and Man City Cup (2017).
In addition to his experience on the field, both coaches brought up Salazar’s work ethic, mentality and family background as reasons for his early success.
“He was raised very well with some really good parents,” Coach Singer said. “I think it was that groundwork that his parents instilled in him that has been a major factor in why he’s been able to have success at such a young age.”
Beyond his play on the field, Coach O’Rourke brought up Salazar’s leadership as one of his most significant contributions to the team. According to O’Rourke, the young midfielder sets an excellent example for teammates with how he hydrates, fuels himself and takes care of his body and mind between practices and matches.
In the words of Coach O’Rourke, “he’s a great role model off the field… [Salazar] is the exact type of athlete you want to build a program around.”
With all of the overall attributes that Salazar brings to the men’s soccer team at the Mount, it is safe to say that the coaching staff is looking forward to having him on board for the foreseeable future.