Mater Dei, SOCCER

By Jenelyn Russo     1/4/2016

“I got my interest in the sport because of my dad,” says Martin. “He was interested in the sport, and what little kid doesn’t want to be like his dad?”

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More than just interested in the sport, Martin’s father has overcome limitations due to limb deformities to not only play soccer, but also be an inspiring role model for his son.

“I think the person I look [to] for the most inspiration is my dad,” says Martin. “He has had to go through so much more than any of us have had to in our lives.”

The 17 year old primarily plays center midfielder for the Monarchs, a position that requires Martin to contribute both offensively and defensively and keeps the long-time player on his toes.

“It’s always changing,” says Martin of the sport. “You face new players every time you play. There are new challenges every game. It just always keeps you thinking.”

The four-year varsity player is serving as captain this season, a role Martin feels blessed to have as he leads his teammates by example. Mater Dei’s head soccer coach, Sean Ganey, feels that Martin’s strength of character makes him the perfect servant leader for the Monarchs.

“Ben is capable of anything he puts his mind to and constantly inspires the youth of our program to be better as players and as people,” says Ganey. “He is the first to celebrate with his teammates and is always there to pick them up. His academic and athletic prowess allows him to hold others to his same standards. I couldn’t be more proud of who he has become.”

Playing soccer has provided Martin some unique opportunities, including the chance to participate in the U.S. Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program, where, as a seventh grader, Martin traveled the world to places such as Argentina to play the sport he loves.

Away from the soccer field, you’ll find the Irvine resident at the piano, where his 10 years of training as a classical pianist help to balance the stress that comes with playing competitive sports.

After high school, Martin hopes to continue playing soccer at a Division I college while majoring in finance and eventually obtaining a masters degree in business. The sport has shown Martin that perseverance, as well as keeping the focus on others, is the best path to success both on and off the field.

“The game of soccer has taught me about leadership and being a team player,” says Martin. “You can’t go through life just worrying about yourself. You have to worry about others. It’s also taught me to work through tough times and not give up when you’re facing hardships.”