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Star Spotlight : Irvin Espinal

Edith Avila

Web editor

Irvin Espinal, junior computer information technology major, started playing soccer at the age of nine in his home country, Honduras. At the age 15, he moved to the U.S. and has played for Shorter for three years now.

His love for soccer began by watching his father play in Honduras.

“When I was about five or six, my dad used to play professional soccer in Honduras,” said Espinal. “He was my first inspiration to play.”

Now his motivation comes from being a father, student and athlete. He said juggling life is not as easy as it seems, but the love for the game makes it worth it.

“It can be a bit overwhelming, trying to be keep up with school, soccer and after that try to have a normal life with my son and my girlfriend,” said Espinal. “I know that it will all be worth it at the end, and I love the game.”

Senior Diego Gonzalez, business administration major, describes his best friend as a responsible individual.

“Irvin as a person is rather reserved. He doesn’t like to attract attention,” said Gonzalez. “That’s why I admire him, not only because he is a responsible student and a dedicated athlete; he is also a father at home. I see him as hard working and extremely responsible.”

Head soccer coach Coach Paulo Neto believes Espinal is one of the best players in the conference.

“He’s an above average player,” said Neto. “I think he’s one of the best players in our conference.”

Neto said Espinal is a leader on the field.

“He has the ability to decide games, and his numbers show that.”

Gonzalez explained how Espinal leads the team.

“I consider Irvin to be a leader. As I said ‘he’s a man with few words,’ but this is how he leads,” said Gonzalez. “He is the type of the player that can change the game. He can make the difference; he leads by action.”

Neto said with Espinal’s skills as a player, he can make things happen on his own.

“He is one of the few players, maybe the only one on our team, that can create chances of his own,” said Neto. “He doesn’t depend on other players to assist him.”

Gonzalez said that Espinal’s skill is not just what creates their connection on the field— it’s the friendship.

“We have time working together here at Shorter. I think that’s what helps our connection on the field,” said Gonzalez. “But that’s not what makes the biggest difference. It’s the friendship; we are friends before teammates.”

Last Spring in March, Espinal was hurt in a game. He describes what he was thinking as he waited for the doctor to diagnose him.

“When I went to the doctor, I was praying that it wasn’t my ACL because I knew how hard it was to come back,” said Espinal.

Though he ended up tearing his ACL, Espinal miraculously came back on the field in five short months. Neto was impressed with Espinal’s recovery.

“It’s a very, very difficult injury (ACL) to come back from. Most players take up to one year. Irvin came back in five months,” said Neto. “That tells a lot about his character, his resilience and his ability to deal with adversity. He makes the most out of opportunities.”

Soccer has been a part of Espinal’ s life since he can remember. He said it has taught him many things in life.

“Soccer has taught me to be more disciplined. It’s about being passionate, dedicated and serious,” Espinal said.