Omar Parra, a senior midfielder for the Manhattanville men’s soccer team, recently won the NCSAA Division III Player of the Week award. Parra is the second Valiant this season to earn the award. Over a 3-game span, Parra scored a total of 8 goals for the Valiants. Parra had two hat tricks against Mount St. Vincent and John Jay. He also finished off the week with 2 goals against Brooklyn, practically sealing his place as the NCSAA Player of the Week.
Parra has been a member of the program since his freshman year in 2013. Prior to this season he had 6 career goals with the Valiants.
He has since then doubled his career, scoring a total of twelve goals so far this season.
“In past years I’ve been considered an average player, but I never stopped working to get better,” said Parra.
Parra spent the summer in Europe improving his soccer skills, as well as getting in shape for pre-season. Parra stressed the importance of being is shape for the fall. He praised the team for coming in ready to work hard. This is a culture that Parra hopes to pass down to the younger players on the team. He also credited the Valiants new head coach Kyle Dezotell, for his personal success as well as the team’s success.
“Coach has formed us into a more attacking team; he has given us the confidence to compete with the top teams,” said Parra.
“The more confidence we have, the better we play as a team.”
Parra is joined by 4 other seniors on the squad. Striker Robert Hammerle, of Sayville, N.Y., and left back Jesper Hjalm, of Stockholm, Sweden, have rejoined their fellow senior after battling injuries for a majority of their time on the team. Hammerle, returning from a meniscus tear, scored his first goal in 704 days to defeat the Eastern Eagles, the defending conference champions. The whole team knew Hammerle would make an immediate impact upon his return to the team. Hjalm played his first full 90-minute game of the season in the team’s 2-1 victory over Eastern.
“It felt good to get out there and make a contribution on the field for our team,” said Hammerle.
The Valiants have only 6 games remaining in their regular season, all of which are against Conference teams. As of Oct. 7th, with a record of 8-4 and 1-0 in Conference play, Parra feels the team is confident and ready to make a run for the conference title. Their victory against Eastern was the first Conference win for the team this season.
“The goal in season is always to win Conference, and then to make the tournament,” said Parra.
Parra, and the Valiants are looking to capture their first Conference title since 2012. They are also looking to gain their first birth into the NCAA tournament since 2012. With the talent from their players, and motivation from coaches, the Valiants have everything they need necessary for post-season play.