Senior soccer player shines on and off the field

Senior midfielder Caleb Almanza dribbles the ball against University of Texas at Dallas Sat, Oct. 7. Courtesy of Cru Athletics

The UMHB men’s soccer team has made history this year, earning the program’s first ASC championship as they head to the NCAA Division III National Championship tournament.
Senior midfielder Caleb Almanza, who was recently selected to compete on the First Team All-ASC and is a starter for the Cru, has played a big part in the team’s success this season.
“This season has been great, we are playing well and put ourselves in a great position to do something amazing and make history,” Almanza said. “I feel I put in a lot of work to my team and do whatever it takes to win.”
While Almanza has had many people in his life who have inspired and helped him in his soccer career, there is a certain person who has left a special impact on his heart.
“My older brother, who is in the Navy is my biggest inspiration in life,” Almanza said.
“I look up to him every day. He has helped me through everything throughout my life and is the reason I am who I am today.”
Soccer has always been more than just a game for Almanza; it is a part of him that no matter where he goes, he will always take with him.
“I have played soccer since I was 3 years old, so it’s been about 18 years,” Almanza said. “My parents got me started in it and it has been a part of my life ever since. I love that I forget about everything while I’m playing. It’s my time to get away from everything and do what I love, and I thank God for letting me do that every day.
“It has been what I have done my entire life, soccer has taken me all over the world, brought me to a great university and just been a massive part of my life.”
Although soccer holds so many special memories in the past for Almanza, his next step in life is to pursue his other dream: to become a physical therapist.
“I plan on pursuing my career after I graduate and not play soccer anymore. I need to focus on my long-term future even though I would love to continue playing,” Almanza said.
Choosing to further his athletic career as a Crusader was not a tough decision for Almanza and throughout his four years here, he has realized that this is exactly where he belongs.
“I loved my visit when I came to visit UMHB,” he said.
“They have great academics and Coach Bankhead ran a very good program so I wanted to be a part of it. To this day, the environment here at UMHB is great and I love my team.”
The Cru topped Trinity University 3-2 in the second round of the NCAA Regional tournament on Sunday, November 12 in San Antonio, advancing them to the third round of the NCAA Championship Tournament.
The Cru will now head to Chicago, Illinois to face Emory University on Friday, Nov. 17th at the University of Chicago.

Author: Geri Wissink

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