By John Mineses
In his first year of soccer at FDU, Hugo Bacharach was voted first-team all-Northeast Conference and earned a spot on the NEC all-rookie team.
He scored his first collegiate goal on March 1 to beat Sacred Heart 1-0 in extra time and then assisted on a goal in the next match, a 3-2 win over LIU, which turned out to be the Knights’ only wins of the season.
“I expect that he will take an even bigger role leading us in the back this coming fall,” Men’s soccer head coach Seth Roland said in an email.
“Hugo is an extremely likeable young man who also happens to be an outstanding soccer player.”
Roland recruited Bacharach, a center back from the small town of Benicasim in Valencia, Spain, to come to New Jersey.
Bacharach, 19, said he chose to come to FDU over attending college in Spain because “I could keep playing soccer at a good level and learn English,” he told The Equinox via Zoom interview. “Studying here in the U.S with a scholarship would be the best option for me.”
He said balancing his athlete life alongside prioritizing on being a great student gives him quite a busy daily schedule.
“I like to have a routine … class, practice, class again, then the gym,” he said.
After advancing to the NCAA tournament in the 2019 championship season, expectations for the men’s soccer team were high for the 2020 season, which ended up being played in the spring of 2021.
Bacharach and the team faced many obstacles in playing through the pandemic to finish 2-5-1 overall and 2-3-1 in the league.
“Practicing with masks, avoiding going out to prevent any positive case was probably the hardest part,” Bacharach said.
“One COVID test every week before every game was difficult … we do everything we need to keep our safe environment, but also being able to play as many games as we can,” he said.
“I remember times that we were practicing with only 12 guys, or 13 guys, because people were in quarantine. Then, we got into games, we were for example 13 or 14 players and the other teams maybe they were like 25.”
The team needed players for entire games with no substitutions, including Bacharach who often played without rest. He played a season-high 110 minutes versus NEC opponent Merrimack.
After this memorable first year, Bacharach is looking forward to a fresh start next fall.
“I want to be a more experienced player next year and try to play as much minutes as I can,” he said. “We have a good team so it would be really good for the school, for the team, for everybody to win again as we did in 2019.”
Photo by Kenneth Ramirez-Castro.
Bacharach slides to defend the ball.