Marist’s men’s soccer team had a notably successful season, no doubt due to one of their rising stars, Allen Gavilanes. Gavilanes, a freshman from North Plainfield, New Jersey, brought to the team a fresh energy that shows both on and off the field. He has won both Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year in the MAAC. Like most other freshman, Gavilanes has to adjust to life in college; however, he also has to juggle his commitment to the soccer team with his academics. This may not be as hard as it sounds for someone like Gavilanes. After talking to him, it becomes clear that he is a levelheaded individual who has his priorities straight.
Q: What drew you to play soccer? Did it play an important role in your childhood?
A: My dad played on a professional team in Spain so it was kind of ingrained growing up. My dad would pick me up from school and we would ride our bikes to the field to play. I also always played with my cousins in our backyards, so it was something that was really family oriented.
Q: What was your high school career like playing soccer? How has it changed now?
A: My senior year of highschool I played for St. Benedict’s Prep in New Jersey which is an all boys school that’s ranked number 1 in the state and number 1 nationally. I played for my public high school in North Plainfield before I was recruited for St. Benedict’s, and I knew I had to go because it is a more intense program and they were in the run for a national championship.
Q: How did you choose to come to Marist? Did you always want to play at a collegiate level?
A: I knew I always wanted to play at a collegiate level, and I had original offers from many schools but an injury during my senior year altered those offers. One of my friends at St. Benedict’s, Ernest Mitchell, went to Marist to play soccer and he definitely influenced my choice besides the beautiful campus. We played in high school at the same time, and now we’re playing together for Marist.
Q: What are you studying?
A: I’m undecided at the moment but I’m really interested in science and possibly sports medicine or becoming a physician’s assistant.
Q: How is the year going between balancing soccer and school?
A: I think it’s going really well, I’ve made a lot of friends on and off the team. I’ve also noticed how much the faculty and students admire student athletes, which is nice to know how much people support you.
Q: Do you have any pregame rituals? (songs, food, etc.)
A: For music, I listen to Travis Scott, but I also have another ritual that may sound kind of strange. I always put my left sock and my left cleat on first which is followed by my right sock and right cleat, and it goes with my motto, “look good, feel good.”
Q: What role does your family play in your athletic career?
A: My family have always been supportive of me, and they always come to our home games. I have three younger brothers as well, and I definitely try to be a role model for them. My eleven year old brother plays and he’s really talented, but my other brothers are three-year old twins and only one of them has really shown interest in the game.
Q: Who is your biggest role model and why?
A: My biggest role model is definitely my mom. She’s the reason I am where I am today. She has always encouraged me and stressed the importance of school. I’m a first generation college student, and school always comes first. I once tried to skip school for a week in middle school, and I would pack my bag with my cleats instead of my books, but eventually my mom caught on. When she realized what I was doing she took soccer away from me and I didn’t play for a whole summer, and fair to say it was the worst summer ever. In soccer, my biggest role model would be Lionel Messi, and one time I even got to see him play in Spain.
Q: What are some of your personal goals for this season/year as a whole?
A: I would like to win the MAAC with my team, and make it to the NCAA tournament. During the first week of October NCAA ranked me fourth in the nation for assists and #40 in the nation for points including four goals and six assists.
Q: What are your goals for the team during your 4 years to come?
A: I definitely want to continue playing soccer, and my coach from St. Benedict’s Prep acts as my agent so he helps advise me along with my coach at Marist.
Q: Where do you see yourself after graduation?
A: I would like to continue doing the things I’m interested in and specifically be in a Sports Medicine program and playing soccer.