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14 Sports 2/5/10

Mirador

Athlete of the Issue: Eric Sassano

by Kelsey Williams and Dani Vignos

At the young age of four, Eric Sassano ‘10 found his passion on the soccer field. Upon entering high school, Sassano immediately joined the men’s varsity soccer team and has been a key component to their success for the past three seasons. As the starting forward for Mats soccer, Sassano is among the top scorers on the team and helps lead them to victory. As of now, Mats soccer is not looking bright, but Sassano has high hopes. “I feel we have hit a turn around, and I suppose anything is possible,” said Sassano. “All we need to do is find our rhythm.” Early in his athletic career, Sassano played many sports, including baseball and basketball. However, Sassano found his hand-eye coordination was not up to par and his true talent was discovered on the soccer field. Having two older brothers who played soccer before him, this decision was practically inevitable. Sassano first played for the

Baracudas, a team within the Orinda Youth Association soccer league. Although he followed in his brothers’ footsteps, Sassano doesn’t feel the pressure to live up to them. “Each of us is a different player and a different person altogether. I’m better at some things while they are better at others. My brothers have only pushed me to be a better player.” Luke, 24, is currently a professional soccer player for the New York Red Bulls. You can also find him as a playable character on the FIFA Soccer 2010 game. Despite the preconceived notion that, as a video game character you can excel at anything, “Luke’s character sucks,” said Sassano. In actuality, Luke is a starting player and Sassano is privileged to travel across the country to watch him compete. “It’s really cool to watch him play against people I have been watching on TV for years, like David Beckham,” said Sassano. Sassano’s other brother, Evan, 22, is currently a senior, playing soccer for UC Berkeley. Other than Miramonte soccer, Sassano plays center back for Bay Oaks Soccer Club, keeping Sassano on the field year round. Last year, Sassano’s club team came in second place in state and 13th place in the nation. He spends an estimated 18-20 hours a week practicing his skills. At the end of Sassano’s junior year, he was awarded Most Valuable Player of the team. This year, along with co captains Michael Pitt ‘10 and Trevor Gorham ‘10, Sassano is trying to pump up the team and bring everyone together. “The team chemistry started off kind of interesting, but we are closer now,” said Sassano. Although tagged to play soccer at many schools, his three main focuses are UC Left: Eric Sassano breaks a defender’s ankles. Top Right: Sassano dribbles upfield. Photos: M. Sassano

Berkeley, USF, and Seattle. He is very hopeful to get playing time at whichever school he chooses. His decision will be equally based on academics and the soccer team.

Fun Facts About Eric Sassano Height: 6’0 Weight: 165 Shoe Size: 9.5 Soccer Cleat: Nike 2-mile: 11:15 Movie: Zoolander Actor: Chris Lilly Class: AP Biology (Junior Year) SSB Char: Donkey Kong Quote to Live By: “When in Rome” Place: Bahamas Color: Ocean Blue Sport other than soccer: Tennis Hobby: “I can read a book in one day” Soccer Player: John Terry Random Fact: “My right foot is a size bigger than my left”


P. 14 Sports