Athlete spotlight: Derik Engebretsen

New year, new player. You can catch transfer student Derik Engebretsen playing for Sonoma State University Men’s Soccer team, a sport he has been playing his entire life. This year Engebretsen will be competing with two other goalies for the 2nd string spot.

Growing up in Encinitas, Engebretsen played for the La Costa High School team. He often enjoyed playing soccer with his dad, brothers, and sister when he was younger and continued to play becoming a striker and goalkeeper. However, being 6’6”, Engebretsen is expected to focus on goalkeeping and working hard to be ready when he gets called onto the pitch.

His passion for the sport began when he was a junior in high school. The “rush and adrenaline from big tournaments” sparked his love for soccer when his team nearly clinched the National Championship title.

What Engebretson likes most about the game is the feeling of saving a ball before it scores the opposing team a point.

“The competitiveness of the game creates a rush that can only be filled or recreated when you get in those big game situations,” says Engebretson.

Thibout Courtois, the Belgian goalkeeper, is his favorite player, but Engebretsen admits he watches whoever is playing.

“When I was first getting interested in goalkeeper I saw him for the first time and after that first I’ve thought of him to be one of the best goalies and looked up to him.”

Although he’s been playing soccer since he was five, Engebretsen admits to almost quitting his freshman year at Saint Mary’s College of California due to the full workload. 

“It’s more than a full time job,” Engebretsen conceded.

The motivation from his dad and unwillingness to walk away from the game he had played his entire life powered him through and he now considers playing soccer after college if given the opportunity. His dream job would be to play for the Chelsea Football Club.

Now at Sonoma State University, Engebretson admits he has become much better at managing his time and putting school as his first priority.

As a new player for Sonoma State, Engebretsen said he’s “always nervous” before a game.  After playing soccer for St. Mary’s College and San Diego Mesa College, his coach encouraged him to finish off at Sonoma State University not only because it was a good fit for him in terms of soccer, but also academically.

Engebretsen is thrilled to play this season and beat Sonoma State’s biggest competition, California State University, Chico.

With family-like relationships between the team players and their head Coach Marcus Ziemer, Engebretsen acknowledges he “not only plays for [himself], but for the rest of the team as well.”  This is a key part of playing for the men’s soccer team as it truly motivates the players to work hard for each other.

Engebretson concedes that practice has been really good and they are mimicking the intense rush and pressure of games to really get a feel for their upcoming games.  However, something they are working on is finishing the game strong.  They have lost or tied a couple games after going into the last 15 minutes with a lead, but simple mistakes resulted in a loss or tie.

The Sonoma State University Men’s Soccer team hopes to win the CCAA tournament and make it to the NCAA tournament this year.