Gavials Adds to his Collection of Awards
For men’s soccer player Allen Gavilanes ‘21, soccer has always played a central role. That might explain why he’s achieved so much, so early on in his college career.
“Soccer has always just been around me,” Gavilanes said. “I used to play a lot in my backyard with my cousin.”
Gavilanes has progressed much further than playing in the occasional pick-up game with family. He just took home the title of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Preseason Player of the Year, after a dominant rookie campaign that saw him take home both the Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards within the MAAC.
For Gavilanes, the successful start to his Marist College career was a landmark moment for his family. In fact, just going to college was monumental, as Gavilanes is the first in his immediate family to do so.
“My parents, or anyone else in my family, didn’t have the opportunity to go to college,” Gavilanes said. “So when the opportunity came, I was very excited and proud, and happy to make my family happy.”
Gavilanes surely made his family proud a year ago. The attacker scored eight goals and notched nine assists in 2017, settling in as one of the Red Foxes’ premier players. He scored two goals in a win at Quinnipiac University on Oct. 21, and assisted on two goals in a game twice -- first against SUNY Albany on Aug. 25 and once more against Canisius College on Oct. 25. To the second-year phenom, however, teamwork is everything.
“None of that would have been possible without my teammates,” Gavilanes said. “I’m very grateful for them and the opportunity to play here.” Gavilanes also credits a training program, titled Advanced Physical and Technical Training (AP2T), with improving his speed and endurance. “It helped me a lot with speed and agility.”
Gavilanes, who hails from North Plainfield, N.J., was recruited by nearby St. Benedict’s Prep before his junior year of high school. The team enjoyed extraordinary success while Gavilanes was aboard, and Gavilanes relished the experience.
“We’d be ranked No. 1 in the country for soccer,” Gavilanes said. “It was an all-boys school too, so there [was] a lot of brotherhood.”
For any athlete, the offseason represents a chance to improve on various facets of an athlete’s game. Gavilanes saw a chance to improve his craft over the summer -- and he got an opportunity to do just that, signing on with the New York Red Bulls’ under-23 team, where he got a chance to go up against some of the nation’s very best.
“I learned a lot there...it was a great experience,” Gavilanes said. “It’s such a professional environment...you learn a lot [when you’re] surrounded by really good players.”
With the regular season underway, Gavilanes carries high expectations going into the new slate of games as he focuses back on his collegiate program.
“I want to win the MAAC with my team,” Gavilanes said. “It’s going to be hard, but we’re definitely a lot better than last year...we’re definitely more of a team.”
The Red Foxes kick off their home schedule on Saturday, Sept. 8, when they host Rhode Island under the lights at Tenney Stadium.