‘It feels right with a ball at my feet’

MVP Q & A with UW-W men’s soccer defender Andres Villarreal

Defender+Andres+Villerral+practices+with+his+fellow+Warhawks+on+a+warm+September+evening.+

Defender Andres Villerral practices with his fellow Warhawks on a warm September evening.

Nay Salter, Sports Editor

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s soccer team is filled with loads of talent and all of the athletes are working hard every day to hopefully make it to the championships. Andres Villarreal, senior and defender for the UW-W Men’s soccer team has been putting in that work to make his dreams come true. 

Villarreal is one of those athletes that fans keep an eye out for when he plays. He has been named State MVP, ranked fourth on the team and 20th in the conference shots, and has made many goals which assisted in the team winning competitions. In 2018 he assisted the the game-winning goal and added 5 shots including one goal in UWW’s 5-0 win against Finlandia. 

“I never thought I’d fall in love with soccer because my family in general aren’t huge in sports so, I’d like to thank my step dad who introduced me to it. I’d also like to thank my teammates who are like brothers,” said Villarreal. 

Villarreal attended St. Catherine’s Highschool and played soccer for his high school team. He is majoring in Biology while also working double time and playing for UWW’s soccer team. He chose to play for UW-W because it’s close to home and he values family very much. He also chose to attend UWW because he wanted to further his education and because head coach Tony Guinn inspired him and believed in him which makes Villarreal feel powerful and ready to give it his all. 

“Guinn was a huge role on why I came to UW-W. Great human being and it’s good having someone believe in you. It felt like home…Bonding with the team and having a great time discovering things and also playing with my friends.” said Villarreal. 

Villarreal started playing soccer when he was eight years-old and it’s been a fun 13 years of playing the sport he loves. However, when he was eight years old he suffered from an injury to the face and quit playing for only one year. But that little injury didn’t stop him from pursuing the sport of his dreams. He came back ready to go at the age of nine and has continued playing ever since then. He’s been through some triumphs and some obstacles, but playing soccer has taught him life long lessons that will stick with him in the future. 

“I’ve learned that it’s never to late to try something new and let it be your best journey ever. Learned to never be afraid of risks, cause not taking a risk is a risk. Also, learned to never give up and someone out there believes in you but most importantly believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid to be different,” said Villarreal. 

Playing on the UW-W soccer team happened to be the perfect fit for Villarreal. His team makes him feel like he’s apart of something bigger than just a sports team. His team is a family to him and he is excited for what the future holds for him. 

“…I got inspired to find out what that was for me and I tried soccer again and ’til this day it’s my best friend. Makes me incredibly happy and never fails to make me smile. It feels right with a ball at my feet,” said Villarreal. 

The next time fans will be able to see this talented athlete play will be on Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. against Saint John’s. 

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