Former MP United Football Club stalwart Enrico Del Rosario is learning the ropes in collegiate soccer.
Del Rosario is suiting up for Alderson Broaddus University in the NCAA Division II, which began its 2015-2016 early this month. The right back defender played in a few games out of the Battlers’ eight matches and is thankful for his teammates and coaches, who are helping him go through his rookie season.
“I believe I did well in the games that I have played. The level here is higher compared to Saipan and the training is very intense. My teammates and coaches are very nice and helpful and I am learning a lot from them. The level of competition is high and each game has been a good and tight one,” the 18-year-old student-athlete said.
Alderson’s matches have closely fought that in its six wins it led no more than two goals and recorded a draw and loss in the two other games. The Battlers drew Tiffin University, 1-1, in their season debut last Sept. 4 and two days later pulled off a 1-0 triumph over California University of Pennsylvania. Del Rosario and company then went on a five-game winning streak after prevailing against Trevecca Nazarene University, 2-1; Kentucky Wesleyan College, 3-2; Mercyhurst University, 2-1; and Seton Hill University, 3-1. The Battlers absorbed their lone loss so far this season last Sept. 24 at the hands of Ohio Volley University, 0-1, but they recovered quickly with a 1-0 victory versus Salem International University last Sept. 26.
Of their eight games, Del Rosario said that one that stood out for him was their first match.
“The first game took off the pressure. It was the game that you can really see where do you stand against other players and what are the things you need to work on more, physically, and mentally,” the Alderson rookie said.
Just like any other student-athlete, Del Rosario said balancing sports and school is a challenge to his young collegiate career.
“You have to be on point in both. Time management is really crucial because if you miss one or the other then it’s going to be harder for you. It is also important for student-athlete to think why they started when they feel like quitting,” the many-time CNMI national youth player.
Meanwhile, Del Rosario and the Battlers are heading to Elkins, West Virginia, to face Davis & Elkins College on Sept. 30 (Oct. 1 on Saipan). The Battlers are playing in the Great Midwestern Athletic Conference and are the only team in that division to have received votes from the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) NCAA Division II National Poll last week.