Athlete Profile: Manny Duenas
Captain Manny Dueñas talks soccer
by Samuel Lawes (’15)
Position: Senior Midfielder
He wasn’t recruited. He wasn’t born in the US. He isn’t tall. And he didn’t have any plan to play college soccer until the very end of high school. With his senior season at Westminster behind him, I sat down with the former captain of the men’s soccer team to discuss what brought him to Salt Lake, how he became a team leader, and oh yeah, the height thing.
On his roots
I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and lived there until I was eight. We would play soccer in the street with the neighborhood kids. For as long as I can remember I played that way, but then I joined a team when I was five or six.
On college plans
It was toward the end of my senior year of high school…I still wasn’t sure what I was doing. Westminster was kind of a last-minute thing. I had a friend from my club team who was coming here. A month before I graduated, I started practicing with the coach’s club team. So I wasn’t actually recruited.
On being 5 foot, 2 inches tall
There was this travel team I was on, and we were at a region camp. You get individual meetings with the coaches, and one of them said, “I don’t know what to tell you, but you just need to grow.” I can’t really control that. I’ve never considered my size an obstacle. But I got over it and realized I could play despite not being big.
On growth as a player
My sophomore and junior years…I thought I should be playing more. Senior year I became the captain, and through the respect people had for me because of my skills, I became a leader. I like that. I enjoyed being able to give some guidance to the new players.
On senior day
Once it got really close to game time, I started getting emotional. But it was awesome. During the game someone started a chant with my name. It was probably the biggest crowd I’ve had here.
On the future
Once you get to a certain point, you kind of realize where you are. I might go try out somewhere, but most likely I’ll just play for fun.
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.