SAN JOSE - In college, Casey Steuer once thought his job as a forward was to score goals and run at defenders.
But last season, 10 years after he graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Steuer accepted a new position. He played as a defender for Real San Jose. His unselfish attitude and commitment to teamwork did not go unnoticed as the team enjoyed a successful season.
Steuer has been named the most recent recipient of the Alex Arellano Memorial Trophy, which is given to the Real San Jose player who demonstrates the most commitment to the team, his fellow teammates and an obvious passion for the game.
|Richard Johnson, a close friend of Alex, presented the award to Casey on April 28.|
Alex Arellano is the late son of Real San Jose owner Nick Arellano and his wife, Norma. Arellano's son was a beloved fixture at team games and meetings. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 25.
Goalkeeper Jonathan Arellano said Steuer was a leader from the first time he stepped on the field with the club.
"He led the team by example in our training sessions and his professionalism off the field," Jonathan Arellano said. "He was out undisputed captain and deserves this award."
Steuer, 33, is a native of Madison, Wisc. and demonstrates a very Midwestern modesty as he discusses Real San Jose. He points out early on that he is the team's oldest player. He said his maturity has been enhanced since the days when he was an all-conference forward for both his high school and the Coast Guard Academy, which is in New London, Conn.
Steuer said that today he prizes traits like keeping possession and not losing the ball, not simply running at defenders and trying to score.
"I've definitely matured in the last five to 10 years on the soccer field," Steuer said.
Steuer graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 2007. Steuer since then has also played for both the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Football Club and the All-Navy team which competes in the Armed Forces Championships. He moved to the South Bay in 2016.
It was at Real San Jose the once offensive-minded forward was asked to play defense.
Steuer was willing to do so. He put the team first, noting that Real San Jose provides him with another avenue to play a sport he has been passionate about for years.
"To be a successful team, you need balance," he said. "I had never played on the defensive line before Real San Jose but this is what the team needed."
That, everyone, is precisely why he won the Alex Arellano Trophy.
He said he is also willing to discuss how to improve with players who ask. He said it is one thing to react to something on the field. But he said he tries to find the right time to do so when the team is not playing a game.
The former Coast Guard Academy's life has changed too since he was a cadet. He now works in the aerospace engineering industry.