Martin Calderon, a senior majoring in kinesiology, came to HSU as a graduate of Fortuna High School. For Calderon, soccer was not the only reason he came to HSU.
Although most athletes at Humboldt State come from areas outside of Humboldt such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, there are still a few who chose to play for their home university. Whether it is because of finances or simply wanting to stay close to home, some local high school athletes made the decision to stay in Humboldt and play for the Lumberjacks.
“I decided to attend HSU because I saw a great opportunity in not only playing soccer but also being able to get an education,” Calderon said. “Being able to represent my local university in soccer and having two of my best friends from high school also attend HSU to play soccer was just a no brainer for me.”
Calderon adjusted well to college life and would not change his choice to come to HSU even if he could.
“My experience was the best it could be,” Calderon said. “I got to move out of my home in Fortuna and really experienced that grind that a college student athlete experiences.”
As for Humboldt State being full of cultures and demographics different to that of local high schools, Calderon has adjusted well. Calderon has been able to play some great competition while also staying local.
“I don’t know if it was a shock to see so many people from different places,” Calderon said. “But it was one of the coolest things to meet many people from many other places. I would never have thought I would be playing soccer with people from all over the country, which was a great experience. A local kid from Humboldt never really gets exposed to meeting people from all over the country and even the world. So it was definitely nice to meet many people from different places.”
Calderon not only excelled in his sport, but also his education. After graduating from HSU with his Bachelor’s degree, Calderon is not expected to stop extending his education.
“I plan on graduating with my Bachelor’s degree in kinesiology teaching and coaching in May,” Calderon said. “Then I will be pursuing a Master’s degree in adaptive physical education at Humboldt State.”
Benicio Benavides-Garb, a sophomore and member of the soccer team, came to Humboldt State because it was the best option for him financially.
“I came to Humboldt State because I was accepted on the soccer team,” Benavides-Garb said. “ I also came because it was the most affordable option for me.”
Some athletes choose to stay in Humboldt because of the uniqueness of the area.
“I love the area because of the redwoods and the trails that I can hike anytime,” Banavides-Garb said. “It’s an area that is so different from anywhere else and I don’t think I would want to leave it yet.”
Benavides-Garb was able to make friends with Calderon over the past two years of playing as well. He sees Calderon not just as a friend, but as a mentor.
“He’s a great leader,” Benavides-Garb said. “And he helped me a lot to get used to being part of a team. He showed me with hard work, anything is possible.”
Gou Nitta, a sophomore and player on the HSU soccer team, believes his fellow player’s relaxed yet collected demeanor allowed for his team to win.
“He was a great leader on and off the field and had great vibes,” Nitta said. “He was always calm and composed. We all looked up to him.”