Published: October 8, 2010
There are two Austin McAnena’s.
One is the Ohio State
sophomore midfielder who leads his team in scoring and is the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.
The other, wasn’t even recruited by the Buckeyes. He had a pretty successful club career for Pateadores in Southern California but put soccer behind him and arrived on the Ohio State
campus with every intention of focusing on his Business degree with a minor in sports medicine.
McAnena No. 1 thrived from the moment he began his college career – starting in all 21 games before earning All Freshman honors in the conference.
McAnena No. 2 had to toil. Only after an endorsement from club coach to college one did he get the opportunity to walk-on to the team.
McAnena is congratulated after scoring against Akron.
Truth is, there’s really only one McAnena seen through multiple lenses. The first one is how we see McAnena. The second, is how he sees himself.
“I definitely don’t see myself as a standout,” McAnena said. “I’m just another player on the field trying to do my job.”
Just another player, he says.
That hasn’t been accurate since before his freshman year, when he actually had no plans to play soccer. He thought he needed a break, and deep down wondered if he could cut it at the college level.
“I doubted myself,” McAnena said. “I didn’t have the confidence and I think I’m still working on it. I didn’t know what to expect and it was intimidating. But it was a good opportunity and things worked out.”
McAnena is quickly earning a national reputation and taking his place alongside conference stars like Soony Saad (#1Top 100 Freshmen
), Spencer Thompson (#37 Top 100 Upperclassmen
), Andres Casais (#70 Top 100 Upperclassmen
), Drew Cost and Corey Hertzog (#10 Top 100 Upperclassmen
His most recent performances have been eye-catching displays of his complete ability as a play-maker.
Against former No. 1 Akron
last week, McAnena fired a shot heard round college soccer and accomplished what no player had been able to in nearly a year.
With his opening goal against the Zips’ vaunted defense, McAnena snapped Akron
’s shutout streak of 1,140 minutes, dating back to Nov. 15, 2009.
“It was cool,” McAnena said with typical understatement. “Once you get in the game you’re just playing, so it’s something I kind of knew about but really realized after the game.”Ohio State
earned a 2-2 tie with Akron
, and McAnena took his momentum into last Sunday’s match with Michigan State
where he notched the game-winner in a 2-1 triumph.
And with that the streaking Buckeyes (6-2-2) have climbed all the way to No. 12 in the Tournament 48 Ranking
And just think, they’re being led by a former walk-on who is still just as unassuming as he was before he made the team.
You would think the success of McAnena No. 1 would obscure No. 2, but it’s the humility and healthy insecurity of the latter that fuels him.
“I feel like not having the mindset that I’m a player out of the ordinary makes me work harder on the field,” McAnena said. “I feel like my team and I are in the right place at the right time. Sometimes things just come together.”
To this point, perception and reality have not.