By Angelica Melara
With the school semester coming to a close, sports teams have had a tough time being able to train in groups and a hard time being able to hang out with one another.
“[COVID-19] has affected me a lot personally,” Jensen Stan, a junior medical health and wellness major and defenseman on the men’s soccer team at SUNY Plattsburgh, said.
Fall 2020 was Stan’s first semester at Plattsburgh, and he did not get to have the “full Plattsburgh experience” due to most of his classes being online, his season being canceled and getting to practice with his teammates only two to three times a week.
Although it was Stan’s first semester at Plattsburgh, it was not his first semester playing soccer. He grew up playing the sport and was encouraged by his father to pursue it.
“My dad pushed me throughout the years to get better and to keep pushing myself,” Stan said.
With the motivation that he got from his father, Stan said that his father became an inspiration. Stan mentioned that he would watch and play soccer with his father, which made his love for the sport grow.
“I thank him all the time for making me the player and the person that I am today,” Stan said.
Like most athletes during the pandemic, Stan has kept up his training by practicing by himself and going to the gym. He goes to the gym on a regular basis and trains with teammates whenever he gets the chance.
“We train together every now and then and manage to have some pretty good sessions, but it’s hard with the pandemic,” Stan said.
Chris Taylor, head coach for the men’s soccer team, mentioned that in the time he’s gotten to know Stan as a person, “he’s been a pleasure to deal with.”
Taylor mentioned Stan’s calm demeanor and the fact that he doesn’t seem to stress about anything.
“He just gets on with things,” Taylor said.
According to Taylor, Stan is also able to make jokes with his teammates, but is also able to be serious when he has to be. Considering there are no games that the team has to prepare for at the moment, having a laugh here and there at practices is something good to have.
“He is able to have a bit of a laugh, and I think that he’s a bit of a joker, and as we spend more time together, I think I will see more of that,” Taylor said.
Because Stan does not have to worry too much about games, he’s able to put more of his focus on school, especially because the change from in-person classes to online classes has created a shift in difficulty.
“I think [online classes] makes [school] a lot harder because you can’t get the full experience and the regularity of going to class and having a schedule. So personally, I think it makes it a bit harder,” Stan said.
After his time at Plattsburgh is done, Stan would like to pursue a career in athletic training and still play soccer.
Stan said, “Soccer is a big part of my life, and I don’t know what I’d do without it.”