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The Champion Within: For LMU's Stephen Carlson, Leadership Begins With The Community

Oct. 2, 2008

A native of Honolulu, HI, senior Stephen Carlson decided to cross the Pacific and play soccer for the LMU Lions, a sport he was destined to play as his father also played at the NCAA level.

This week he took some time with us to talk about being a fifth year senior, his views on leadership, and being active in the classroom as well as the community.

Q: As a fifth year senior and one of the team captains on this year's LMU team, how have you taken on a leadership role and what are some of the things that you can pass on to the younger players?

SC: I have taken on a leadership role by being more vocal on the field and being a role model to the team by playing hard and playing smart. I can pass on to the younger players how to manage their time and what to do and what not to do on and off the soccer field.

Q: What does it mean to you to be nominated for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award (award that honors the attributes of senior student-athletes in four areas: classroom, community, character and competition)?

SC: It means a lot to me. This is a prestigious award and it is an honor to be nominated for this award along with the other senior student-athletes who got nominated.

Q: How did you get involved playing soccer and what is your earliest memory playing the sport?

SC: I got involved with soccer because my dad loves soccer and has been playing his whole life. He played college soccer at Lewis & Clark University in Oregon. My earliest memory is getting yellow-carded my first soccer game I ever played in because I kept on running over the other kids. It was K-Division (Under-6) of AYSO.

Q: In your eyes, what does it mean to be a good leader?

SC: A good leader is a person that people can learn from. A good leader also sets an example that people can follow. A good leader helps a group of people reach a common goal.


Q: Having been named to the Dean's List four times, how are you able to balance your academic commitments with the time demands of your sport?

SC: Managing your time well is critical for a Division I student athlete. There is time to have fun, a time to study, and a time to play soccer; if you prioritize those wisely it is not that difficult.

Q: Tell me about your decision to major in Civil Engineering and what are your career goals after graduating from LMU?

SC: Coming into college my athletic academic advisor asked me what subjects I liked in school. I said, "Math and science," so he suggested I try engineering. It turned out to be interesting and enjoyable, so I stuck with it. I hope to play soccer professionally and once that is done, go to work for an engineering firm.

Q: When not studying or playing soccer, what do you like to do in your spare time?

SC: I like to nap.

Q: In the spring of 2008, the LMU men's soccer team joined Habitat for Humanity to re-build a house in inner-city Los Angeles. Can you talk about what that experience was like?

SC: It was a great experience to be part of. We were working as a team to help a family in need. The experience was also humbling, it made me appreciate where I am and the opportunities that I have.

Q: What do you enjoy most about soccer?

SC: Winning or the competition.

Q: Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why?

SC: My parents. All the values that I follow today are because of the way they brought me up. They have supported me throughout my whole life no matter what I was doing.

Q: As a native of Honolulu, Hawai'i, why did you decide to come to the mainland for college and why did you decide on attending Loyola Marymount University?

SC: I decided to come to the mainland because there is no Division I soccer team on the Islands. I chose LMU because it is a great school, in a great location, the weather is great (not as great as Hawaii's but pretty close), and everything about the soccer team is great.

Q: What do you miss most about Hawai'i?

SC: My mom's cooking.

Q: You suffered a season-ending injury in 2006. What was it like having to sit out that season, what did you learn during the process, and what would you say to a player facing a similar situation?

SC: It was difficult watching the team play. I was tough because I didn't feel like I was a part of the team and I couldn't contribute on the field or help my teammates. I learned that injuries happen; this was my first significant injury. Being patient is the key when you are injured. Use the time to rehab so that you heal correctly and can come back better than before.

Q: What has been your favorite non-athletic moment at LMU and why?

SC: Walking at graduation with all my friends while my parents watched, it was a surreal experience. Another great moment was when my roommate Jawaan Delaney won the Mr. LMU competition.