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Post-game interview with Louis Hester, Butte College Men’s Soccer Goalkeeper

The comradery among the team combined with a supportive coach make Butte College home for many international students.
Courtesy of Daniel O’Hara.
Louis Hester takes the field.

I sat down with BCMS’s English goalkeeper Louis Hester off the back of the team’s 2-2 draw with Union Pacific University in the opening clash of the 2024 Spring season. I was provided with a first-hand analysis of the team’s performance, as well as an insight into the experience of an international student travelling to the US to play college soccer.

Things didn’t quite click for Butte out there today, can you give some insight into what you think went wrong?

Despite being weighed down by the shadows of the off-season, the Roadrunners were able to open up an early one goal lead through sophomore Daniel Alvarez’s penalty. “I think that we came into the game excited and started strong, but we ended up getting tired, it was our first 90 minutes back out there and you could tell the chemistry wasn’t quite there.” These cracks in the team’s chemistry were exposed as Union Pacific struck twice in five minutes to emerge into a 2-1 lead, before Lenny Dupouyet equalized for the Roadrunners in the dying moments.

The fresh squad of 2024 produced an energetic but disjointed performance in their first outing together, but the potential is clear to see. “There’s definite positives that can be taken from the game.” This team has the potential to become a force to be reckoned with in the Golden Valley Conference once their new players begin to gel.

What positives can we take away from today’s match?

“First game as a team with new faces and we definitely felt that there is potential and we all look forward to the next game where we all can get more chemistry playing together.” The team’s belief in their ability to improve and succeed is clear, as they look to move swiftly on to their next challenge.

Hester also emphasized the importance of the steps made towards full fitness, “Getting minutes in the tank is good as the majority of us haven’t played a full game since November last year.”

How do you think you got on personally?

“I thought I did ok, nothing special but there are definitely areas I can improve on.” Hester embodies the team’s desire to improve, also recognizing the squad is just beginning to work out how to play together, “It was the first game so can’t be too hard on myself.”

Aside from today’s game, can you give us some insight into what it’s like going so far from home to play soccer here at Butte?

It is impossible to understate the enormity of the leap these young athletes take in pursuit of their dream, “Coming from England it hasn’t been too different for the most part but being over 5000 miles from my family and friends makes things more difficult. The 8 hour time difference is very hard to manage but I have been here long enough to know how to deal with it.”

Hester places great emphasis on the comradery among the squad, as they become a family away from home. “When the strong majority of the team is in the same situation as you, you manage to build this connection that these teammates are way more than just that, and you can see that both on and off the pitch.”

How important is the Coach in helping you settle and feel at home?

The Englishman aimed high praise at Coach Ross Sandberg, speaking of the enormous role he plays in providing support to his players, even going so far as to label him a father figure, “Coach is always there to help, anytime you text him he will get back to you within a minute. He puts us above everything else and treats us as his sons.” He spoke of how Sandberg goes above and beyond his role as Coach, “He is especially helpful when we are moving in as he has spare furniture which he encourages us to use when we first arrive.”

Would you recommend a similar path to anyone back home considering it?

Louis spoke of the growth both athletically and personally that his decision to move to the States has allowed him to make, “I would definitely recommend this to anyone especially if you are not sure with what you want to do with your life. I came to America as I wanted to be away from home rather than stay living at home and go to university, so I decided to come all the way out here and develop myself not only as a footballer but as a person as well.”


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