Darwin Lom is a junior mathematics major who has recently transferred to NSU from Shorter University in Georgia. Though the Sharks on the soccer team struggled to gain their momentum near the beginning of the season, they managed to end the season on a high thanks to Lom who scored the winning goal in last month’s game against Embry-Riddle, sealing their 3-2 victory.
You recently transferred here from Shorter University in Georgia. How did you decide on coming to NSU?
“Yeah, this is my first season here; I transferred over the summer. Pretty much I just wanted to try something new. I have family and had been in Georgia for a while now. I moved there [from Guatemala] when I was a kid, so I’d been there for a while but I’d never actually lived anywhere else. So, I’ve been wanting to experience something new and when I started speaking with Coach Watts, I found that it was a really good opportunity and he really wanted to build something good here and start something new.”
What’s been the biggest difference for you playing for NSU instead of Shorter University, or any team for that matter?
“Definitely the environment. The environment here is really different; not in a bad way but in a lot of different ways. I’ve been able to meet new people — a lot of new people — and the town is just really known, everywhere, all over the world, so it’s nice to see different cultures and religions. Shorter’s a small town so to see some people everywhere, it’s different in a good way.”
What are you majoring in here?
“Right now it’s mathematics, but I’m looking into actually changing it, so I’ll see how that goes … maybe to exercise science. I actually wanted to change when I was transferring here but credit-wise it didn’t add up and I wouldn’t have been eligible to play — that’s something, you know, I had to play.”
How did you get started in your soccer career?
“Soccer is just my family sport. I actually played football for a little bit in high school but it just wasn’t my thing. So, soccer’s been in my family, everyone’s played; it’s pretty much in our blood so I had to keep it going and since I had a great opportunity to play in college and get an education out of it as well,why not use it, you know? And so far it’s going really well.”
When did you start playing soccer?
“I started actually playing in middle school in seventh grade. So, I was about maybe 13/14 or around there … not too long but it’s been quite a while. I wouldn’t be the same without it, honestly. I still remember the very first day when I spoke about it with my Uncle.”
What happened on that day?
“In middle school they give fliers away for soccer, tennis — I didn’t even show him the paper, he just saw it and he signed me up so it just went from there.”
I can relate to that. I know that soccer is your family sport but is there a particular player that you look up to?
“It might be a little basic but it’s not just because of the awards he’s won or how great he is, but Ronaldo. It’s just really nice how even now, that I know he’s the best player right now, … he still works as hard as anyone on the field and outside the field by himself. The mentality he has is just unbelievable.”
What motivates you to keep going?
“My family. It’s the number one thing; it’s always going to be my family. They’ve always been there. It doesn’t matter what I do, where I go, how hard it is and how difficult everything is; they’re always there. Before the games I always speak to my mom or someone in my family, so it’s a big part. It’s really big for me.”
Would you say that’s your ritual or do you have another before the game ritual?
“That’s a ritual, that and just [listening] to music of course. Sometimes I zone out by myself and Coach thinks I’m being antisocial [but that just helps me].”
So, what do you listen to?
“Any kind of music. I listen to Hispanic music. I listen to rap. I’ve been hanging out with a lot of different people so I listen to different kinds of music and it’s just nice.”
Congratulations again on scoring that winning goal in the last game against Embry-Riddle. I can only imagine what that must have felt like.
“Thank you. It was big; it was nice scoring, obviously, the winning goal but it was huge knowing that the school hasn’t had a [win] in a while so it was really nice. Coach was super excited for it. He was actually wanting that — that was our next step knowing that we couldn’t make it to the playoffs, going head to head … ending the season with a win.”
With that being said, what’s been your biggest challenge playing for NSU?
“Being the new guy is definitely a big part. I know there’s a lot of new guys here but it’s just getting used to everyone and I guess you could see that in the schedule; we started off really rough but as we picked it up you know, we did really well. It sucks that we couldn’t go to the playoffs, but we did really well. We did better than NSU has done in awhile so hopefully next year it will be even better than this year.”
What are your plans for next year?
“Definitely, at least make it to the playoffs. Coming here, one of my goals was playing really well on the team; playing as an individual and as a team as well and coming as a top scorer from the conference … that was a really big deal for me, and next year I just have to do the same thing. But not just for me, but as a team, I want us to win something that we have never won — to conference at least. It’s going to be a really big year next year and I can’t wait for it.”
What do you see yourself doing after you graduate?
“The number one for me is graduating obviously, and honestly, my plan is to do something with soccer afterwards. But it’s always nice to have a degree if everything falls [through]. It’s going to be something. Hopefully, something comes up with soccer and everything goes well with that and if it does then I’ll keep playing, but if it doesn’t, then I’ll have my degree and I can do something with that as well which would be really nice.
What piece of advice would you give to players who find it hard to stay motivated?
“I’d just say, honestly, never give up. I’ve been through it as well. I’ve had my moments [where I thought] this is too hard, I can’t with school and soccer and everything because it’s just unbelievably hard. And I’ve had my thoughts about what I’d do, like should I just give up soccer, but I just give a big slap to my face and ask myself what I was thinking because soccer has been there. Stay motivated. Don’t give up. It will be worth it in the long run.”