Freshman defender continues strong play

After getting their first conference win of the season on the 6th men’s soccer team improved their overall record to 5-5-0, and 1-1-0 in conference play.

The 4-0 win over the Thundering Herd of Marshall University in FIU’s conference home opener marked the first Conference-USA win in over two seasons for the Panthers. The win also marked head coach Ken Arena first conference win at FIU.

Since the win over Marshall, FIU has fallen to an overall record of 5-7-0 and a conference record of 1-3-0, losing back-to-back games to conference opponents. The losses to New Mexico and UAB in the past week have been major set backs for FIU, as they were looking to use the momentum from their blowout win over Marshall in their two game conference road trip.

As the Panthers get ready to finish out their season with five straight Conference- USA games, they hope to keep getting strong production from their young players who have made immediate impacts throughout the season.

In the impressive win over the Thundering Herd, one young player who stood out was freshmen Marvin Hezel. Hezel recorded three total points in the win over Marshall, scoring a goal and assisting on another. His goal came just a minute into the second half, giving FIU a 3-0 lead. It was just Hezel’s second goal of the season, a player who does not find the net often playing center defensive back, but a goal none the less that would push FIU’s lead and secure their best win of the season.

“The first loss against FAU was a bad game for us,” Hezel said, and continued, “it was very important going into Sunday’s game against Marshall to be focused and get our first conference win before having to leave Miami for our next two conference games coming up.”

As a freshmen coming over seas from Germany, Hezel has started all 12 games so far for the Panthers this season, as of 10/17/13. Before getting to FIU, Hezel played soccer in Germany where he was born and raised. The freshman was born in Stühlingen, a small German town just near the Swiss border. Hezel was exposed to a large background of soccer growing up and began playing “Fußball” at a very young age.

While in Germany, Hezel played his soccer at SC Freiburg, a club that has been apart of the German professional soccer league, the Bundesliga.

Although Hezel never played for SC Freiburg’s first division team, he did make his way up the club’s developmental teams before coming to Miami and starting his collegiate career at FIU. Throughout Hezel’s time at SC Freiburg, he made appearances for the clubs U17, U19, and second division team.

Hezel scored a total of 10 goals throughout his career with SC Freigburg, appearing in over 50 games for the German club. His favorite memory playing in Germany was when he played the German cup final with his club, scoring the winning goal for his team in front of 3,000 people.

“Scoring that goal was the best moment of my life,” Hezel said. “The game was on television and it was a feeling that I will never forget. I am working hard everyday with this FIU team to be able to accomplish something like that with them.”

For many players coming over seas, the transition from the European style of soccer to the American style of soccer can be difficult. Hezel believes that for the most part this is true, but he has experienced it differently playing at FIU under head coach Arena.

“The style of play is very different in Germany. Here, the teams we play against love to play kickball and adjusting to defending that style was not easy,”Hezel said. “Our team,” he added, “likes to play a more European style of soccer where we connect passes and touch the ball around as a team. I enjoy the way coach wants to play and it is the way I know and was taught in Germany.”

Being comfortable with coach Arenas’ system has shown so far this season as the freshman has started all 12 games for FIU scoring two goals, while also recording two assists, as of 10/17/13. He is tied for the most goals by an FIU defender and also leads the team in assists for defenders.

As the season moves forward, Hezel believes that the young players on this FIU team can continue to make a big impact on their success in the five remaining C-USA games.

“We all work very hard and that is good for the team. Everyone knows that we have to fight for our spots because of all of the talent we have in every position. As long as we keep working hard, it will show on the field during games”, said the young German native.

For Hezel and the rest of the Panthers, they continue their season back in Miami on October 19th (5-3-1).

The Panthers, who have a 2-1 record at home, will look to improve their conference record to 2-3-0 on the season. Including when they will take on the Monarchs of Old Dominion University

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