Sports & Outdoors

A new season for senior soccer player Sam Naatz


After a season-ending injury last year, fifth-year senior Sam Naatz (Salt Lake City, Utah) is excited to be off the bench and back on the field for the 2014 Logger soccer season.

Naatz tore his ACL in the Loggers’ second 2013 preseason game against the Trinity Tigers.

“Because I tore my ACL so early in the season last year, I got eligibility to come back and play this year,” Naatz said. “Honestly, I’m pretty lucky.”

Naatz said many things were put in perspective for him after tearing his ACL.

“I like to think that last year was a shine-through moment for me,” Naatz said. “It really made me rethink all my goals and aspirations, considering it was such a devastating injury to me.”

As a biochemist major set to graduate after the fall 2014 semester, Naatz only has one class: his thesis.

“If I’m not on the soccer field, you can find me studying, usually in Thompson,” Naatz said.

For Naatz, the most difficult part of playing soccer is balancing school and studying.

“It’s so hard to make time for everything. I had three labs at one point during a semester, and I was playing soccer, which is an obnoxious amount of time spent on and off the field doing things,” Naatz said. “People say ‘It’s just a Division-3 sport. It’s not that big of a time commitment.’ But it really is.”

Naatz began playing soccer when he was five years old.

“My parents put me in [soccer], and I enjoyed it, so I kept doing it,” Naatz said. “I split my time between soccer and skiing when I was younger, and I’ve been doing both ever since.”

In 2010, Naatz was among 20 other incoming first years trying out for the Logger soccer team.

“There was so many of us that the coaches had to cut it down to about 14,” Naatz said.

During Naatz’s first year on the team, he saw playing time in all 20 games, totaling 1,483 minutes.

Being a defender, Naatz spends the majority of his time on the field blocking the shots, but, occasionally, he’ll make his mark on the offensive end.

His sophomore year, Naatz scored his first Logger goal in a shutout game against the Linfield Wildcats on Oct. 22.

His junior year, he took three shots and came out with a shots-on-goal percentage of .333.

Just last year, The Loggers won the conference championship game against Pacific University.

Although he was cheering from the bench, Naatz says his proudest moment while on the Logger soccer team was watching the team win the title.

“It was hard seeing all my friends play their hearts out and win the conference championship with me sitting on the sidelines, but it was great to watch it and be part of it, nonetheless,” Naatz said.

The men’s soccer team is currently ranked first in the Northwest Conference. With two conference wins right off the bat against Pacific (Ore.) and George Fox, the team is on the right track to a second consecutive conference championship title.

Naatz and Alec MacCallum, senior and Naatz’s teammate, (Bigfork, Mont.) are both sporting new hairstyles this season in hopes it will bring them good luck and another championship title.

“Alec and I decided to grow our hair out so we could have top-knots for season,” Naatz said. “Top-knots for the conference win.”

Looking back on his five years on the team, Naatz is proud to have represented Puget Sound as a member of the soccer team.

“Puget Sound gave me the opportunity to play the sport I love while getting a great education at the same time,” Naatz said. “The team taught me to grow up. They are a great group of friends and have provided me with numerous life experiences.”

After graduation, Naatz plans to either apply to medical school or explore other graduate school options to continue his researching ambitions.