Charles Micunek hails from South Bend, Ind. and studies as a junior at Albion College. This year, he is co-Captain of the men’s soccer team. He also has been invited to play for a team of US athletes representing the country in Brazil this summer. The Pleiad sat down with Charles to hear about his journey from Albion to Brazil.
The Pleiad: What position do you play?
Micunek: Center back. I am the central defender, so if you operate a four man crew in the back I play on the left side. I command the back line. I have to be able to see the other team and move guys around in front of me. I’m the last guy before the goalkeeper. My voice has to be heard all over the field. I definitely give motivation out in the front, too and keep our guys working hard.
When did you start playing soccer?
I started playing soccer when I was four years old. It’s been a long time. Seventeen years, man. I’ve dedicated my entire life to it.
What inspired you to play soccer?
The first time I ever touched the ball I just fell in love. I played other sports growing up. And it just has a passion to the game a lot like American football does, you have to have passion to play. My dad never played soccer, but I just fell in love with it.
Why did you choose to come to Albion College?
Sophomore year is normally when you start really getting recruited, getting your name out. I had to take a year off. In my sophomore year of high school, I ended up hurting my knee really bad. I had two knee surgeries between my sophomore and junior year of High School. I was looking at Division I schools when I was a sophomore and being contacted by them, but things fell apart. Two knee surgeries takes a toll on your body. Albion was one of the few places that wanted to bring me aboard. I had it down to three schools, and walking across campus I loved it. And Coach Block’s a cool guy too.
Explain what the Brazil tour is for us.
All the all-region players across the United States were invited to play. There are fifteen spots and it was a first-come-first-serve basis and I ended up contacting the head coordinator three days after I received the initial email and I got the fifteenth spot. Somehow it landed in my lap, I have no clue–I’m very fortunate. So I get to play with 14 other guys who have been recognized at a high level. I’m going with one or two All-Americans, but it’s kids all over the United States. We get to go play against the best competition in Brazil. It’s exciting.
What do you hope to bring to the team?
I hope to bring a leadership aspect and a motivational aspect as well to the team. I’m one of those guys who’s always rounding up the troops and getting everyone ready for battle, and I like inspiring. I hope to be a defensive force, and I really hope to start all four games. I hope to be a big piece of the thing. It’s honestly a dream come true for me. It’s what you dream of as a kid to go play for your country. I may not be doing it on the highest level but it’s a level that I can fulfill right now. It’s big.
What do you want out of this experience?
There are a lot of things but one thing I really want is just to test myself–can you play against the best? These Brazilian players are the best; this is the homeland of soccer. They’ve won the most World Cups and playing against them is a true challenge to see if I actually am the player that I am right now. I can’t really describe it. I’m at a loss for words.
Photo courtesy of Albion College