By Maxmillian Robinson
Success can spring from many places. Some of the world’s best athletes, Hakeem Olajuwon and Dirk Nowitzki (NBA), Manny Ramirez (MLB) and Christiano Ronaldo (Series A soccer) all have dominated their respective leagues at a point in time, despite not being native to the country they’ve played in. Many athletes, including some of our Panther players, aren’t local to the New York Metropolitan Area.
In fact, a few aren’t even from the United States. Yet, their skills remain unfazed by this transition to play on Adelphi soil.
“In Argentina it’s a completely different scene,” said men’s soccer player Franco Paz. “As an underdeveloped country, the facilities you can find in the U.S, lack in countries such as Argentina. To give you a simple example, the public facilities the U.S have across their states are amazing. In Argentina to practice your favorite sport, you probably have to pay or go to an academy.”
In other parts of the world, some athletes have a hard time in skill development due to the conditions being worse, unlike being in the US.
His teammate Vladislav Stepanov of the United Arab Emirates said that growing up in Eastern Europe was “different in every aspect you can imagine. There was harder access to soccer footwear, to different types of equipment and utilities. I wouldn’t realize the challenges because they were normal for me, but once coming to Adelphi, I have realized that life can be very different. It just comes to having better quality of things around you.”
On the other hand, one athlete in particular, didn’t experience a huge difference.
“My life growing up was good,” said first-year softball player, Lindsey Hibbs, a native of Brampton, Ontario, Canada. “I lived in a pretty large city with a population of 600,000 people so there was never a loss of friends in my hometown. Growing up we were a two-sport family, meaning both my two older brothers and I all played hockey and baseball/softball. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the hard work that I put into those opportunities.”
Despite their different early play experiences, they still had their heroes and mentors.
“We [Argentinians] have Messi and Maradona,” Paz said. “In my opinion the best two soccer players ever.”
Soccer player Vladislav Stepanov is from the United Arab Emirates.
“Both of my coaches [in high school] are what I would consider hometown heroes in regard to field hockey at our school,” Hibbs said. “Not only did they encourage me, they also helped me film recruiting videos, gave me extra practice, and even introduced me to other club teams to help me get my foot in the door to play [college] softball.”
These athletes have the unique ability to adapt to their surroundings, taking it one step at a time.
“I would love to continue playing my sport my whole life, wherever it will be,” Stepanov said when asked about playing professionally. “Maybe not on a professional level, but the passion and love for soccer will never leave me!”
“I would love to continue my sport after college,” Hibbs said. “I don’t know where I would be without it. I have everything to owe to softball and I want to do the sport justice. My major goal would be to play for my country, Team Canada.”
Softball player Lindsey Hibbs is a native of Brampton, Ontario, Canada.
As for some, professional play may be out of the picture, but the love remains forever.
“I think I’m a little bit old to plan to play professionally, but if I have the opportunity I’ll do it,” said Paz, 27. “If not I will continue playing in amateurism till I die.”