Mesa Community College men’s soccer keeper/goalie Alejandro Chavez has come up in big moments when the T-Birds needed him. After starter Andrew Powell went down with an injury, Chavez was called upon to defend the net, and in his time doing so, has helped the team win four of the five games he has started.
Chavez grew up in New Mexico, and his journey to MCC can be credited to his brother, who played soccer for Chandler-Gilbert Community College.
His brother was able to help him connect with head coach Brian Ronan, who set up a tryout for Chavez before he would eventually secure a spot on the team.
Chavez was named Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Goalkeeper of the Week in late September after shutdown performances against powerhouses Yavapai College and Pima Community College, with the latter of the two being ranked number one in the country at the time they played..
When Chavez heard the news, he was happy with the honor, but knew he can always improve on his abilities.
“It felt good, you have to be humble about it, of course. It makes me want to push myself more to see how far I can get.”
Against Yavapai, Chavez recorded four saves while only allowing one goal. Against Pima, he again only allowed one goal while saving five shots.
Going into their game against Mesa, both Yavapai and Pima had been averagine nearly four goals a game.
Against Pima, the T-Birds led by one goal late in the game and the intensity level grew with every passing second.
On multiple occasions Pima got clean shots at MCC’s goal, but Chavez was able to defend the net and stop a goal by using some observational clues on the opposing player taking the shot to help him get an edge.
“I really focus on their body language, I try to see which way their hips are facing, are they facing inwards or open more? That tells me where he’s trying to place his shot,” said Chavez, “I just try to read his body language so I can get the upper hand to be able to make the save.”
The impact a goalkeeper has on a game is immense.
If a keeper has a bad game, they can single handedly lose the game for their team. While on the other hand, they can elevate their team to victory if they have a stellar game.
Chavez knows that even if he has a lapse in defending a shot and it does find the back of the net he has to continue to move forward.
“At first when it happens you put your head down, but I tell myself that it already happened, because if I stop talking to my defense then they start to fall apart. All you can do is move on and learn from your mistakes so there’s no point of bringing yourself down, which would then bring everyone else down,” said Chavez.
Like most college athletes, Chavez understands that at some point he may hit the end of the road in his soccer career, though he hopes with hard work, it will continue to the next level.
If that dream does not become a reality, he hopes to still stay connected to the sport he loves, whether it be by becoming a coach or athletic trainer.
Chavez is an exercise science major, and knows all too well that being a student athlete is a very stressful task at times. Chavez even relates it to a job somewhat.
Between practices, film study, games, classes and homework, Chavez relies on a planner to help him organize his tasks and responsibilities to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
Chavez and the team hope to keep winning as they look to improve their record down the stretch to improve a hopeful playoff spot for a chance at the ACCAC Championship later in the season.