International talent brought to men’s soccer team

Haleigh Giebel, Staff writer

Over half of the Mercyhurst men’s soccer team is made up of international players from 16 countries. The men used different tools to find out about Mercyhurst.

Senior Sten Marcson, from Onsala, Sweden, used an agency and family connections to find out about Mercyhurst.

“I used an agency back home in Sweden that helps find schools in the U.S.,” said Marcson. “My brother also went to Gannon which is how I heard about Erie and Mercyhurst specifically.”

Freshman Michael Blancato from Sydney, Australia, signed with a company before coming to the United States.

“There was a recruiter that came to my high school to see if anyone was interested in playing soccer in America, so I signed with his company upper 90 college and he sent my highlights video and SAT scores to many colleges around the U.S.,” said Blancato. “Mercyhurst was one that came back interested in me with a good scholarship and they had a good soccer program and good academics so it seemed like a good choice.”

Similarly to Marcson, redshirt senior Mark Roche also heard about Mercyhurst through word of mouth.

“I heard about Mercyhurst through some of my lads from back home in Dublin,” said Roche. “I know people that have played for Mercyhurst and enjoyed it, so it interested me.”

Both Roche and Blancato said that international players bring ‘‘banter’’ to the soccer environment here at Mercyhurst. They like to joke around with each other and grow closer as a family through that.

Playing soccer in America has proven to be different than in other countries.

“The schedule, with playing multiple games a week, packed into such a short amount of time is certainly different,” said Marcson. “Having no real limitations on substitutions is also very different from playing in Sweden.”

Roche and Blancato agreed that the pace of the game in America is faster and the overall play in America is more physical.

Going to college in another country has also proved to have its ups and downs.

“At first it was tough and it still is sometimes now, because people have a hard time understanding me,” Roche said.

“The transition was hard at first leaving my family and mates back home but after meeting my roommates and the soccer team, it really made it a lot easier,” Blancato said.

In contrast, Marcson had a different transition experience.

“The transition was very easy,” said Marcson. “I came straight into pre-season and into a team full of foreigners and people who love to do the same thing I do, so it wasn’t hard to fit in.”

The Lakers overall current record is 6-7-1 and 6-1-1 in the PSAC conference.

“We are fighting to retain our PSAC crown,” said Roche. “Despite a rough start we are on course to reach the conference tournament and we all believe we can win it.”

The Lakers travel across town to Gannon University to take on the Golden Knights in a PSAC match up on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m.

Their next home game is on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 4 p.m. against Seton Hill University.