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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

First-year defender brings new kicks and tricks to Marquette

Photo by Isabel Bonebrake
First-year defender Tristan Ronnestad-Stevens attempts a kick in Marquette men’s soccer’s 3-2 loss to UConn Oct. 15 at Valley Fields.

Last summer Tristan Ronnestad-Stevens, a first-year defender from Perth, Australia, had his first real taste of the United States: a hot dog at a Milwaukee Brewers game.

“It was like Dollar Dog night, so me and my roommates, (Kyle Bebej, Mitar Mitrovic and Ludvig Malberg) had a couple too many hot dogs, but it was pretty fun,” Ronnestad-Stevens said. “It was a nice taste of what it must be like to be an actual American.”

But there is one thing about the States that Ronnestad-Stevens simply cannot get behind.

“In America, I’ve seen a lot of people when they go out to class, they’ll basically be wearing their pajamas. It’s different at home (Australia), because I wouldn’t say they dress up, but they put on real clothes,” Ronnestad-Stevens said. “It’s funny because I’ll actually be wearing clothes and everyone’s like, ‘Why are you dressed up?’ But it’s a normal thing for me.”

“Dressing up” is a daily occurrence for Ronnestad-Stevens and his style has begun to WEAR off on his American teammates.

“Since he’s dressing nicer, sometimes I got to put together a nice outfit as well,” Bebej, a first-year defender and roommate of Ronnestad-Stevens, said. “Usually in high school I would wear sweatpants or something, but now I’ve embraced jeans, slacks or a pair of khakis.”

No matter the fit, it’s the kicks that make or break a look. Luckily, Ronnestad-Stevens has a plethora of shoes to choose from.

“I brought about 10 pairs with me and probably another 10 at home that couldn’t fit in the suitcase when I came over,” Ronnestad-Stevens said. “I had to leave some behind. It was a tough choice, but I just brought my favorite ones over.”

From Jordans and Nike Dunks to New Balance and Converse, Ronnestad-Stevens’ love for footwear is in his blood.

“I definitely got my shoe addiction from my mom,” Ronnestad-Stevens said. “My mom has too many shoes to even count. She has always been wearing nice shoes and stuff. She’s always been an influence on me in the style department.”

Just as his mom influenced his fashion, Ronnestad-Stevens’ grandma influenced his love for the game of soccer.

“When I was younger, my grandma was really into football (soccer), I was watching it a lot. So that’s how I got into soccer,” Ronnestad-Stevens said.

The Australian native surely has style off the field, but it doesn’t end there. As a player, Bebej describes Ronnestad-Stevens as a calm, yet unafraid presence.

“He has a certain style to his play, a calmness as well. Whenever he’s defending, he’s not afraid to go into a tackle. It’s the best of both worlds,” Bebej said.

Ronnestad-Stevens arrived at Marquette after a teammate from his Australian club put him in contact with assistant head coach Sean Hughes.

“Tristan was recommended to us first as a person. We knew we’d be getting a guy who is mature for his age and really competitive on the ball,” Hughes said. “Overall, in terms of personality, fits in really well with the group of lads. He has traveled a little bit as well in the world, he’s got a good perception of different cultures and I think he’s brought that personality to our program for sure.”

Back in Australia, Ronnestad-Stevens played with much older talents, where he developed some of his “mature nature,” Hughes shared.

“There’s also a big mental component and different level of maturity. There’s a lot of pressure on a younger player immediately, so I think that prepared him to come to college where obviously there’s a physicality, but also the experience of the players, especially in age, is a little bit lower,” Hughes said.

As for mental maturity, Hughes praises Ronnestad-Stevens for his ability to bounce back after setbacks.

“One thing about Tristan is his various skill sets, obviously of technique with the ball, but he’s got like a mental fortitude that if he makes mistakes, which we all do, it doesn’t seem to affect him,” Hughes said. “He continues to play and moves on to the next play really quickly. In a sport like soccer, everybody makes mistakes. I think it’s important that you have a short memory as you’re playing so you stay in the current moment.”

Ronnestad-Stevens continues to bring what he described as an “old-fashioned defender” style to the field, while also echoing style from head to toe.

“Well, we’ve seen some shocking haircuts on the team and I think he (Ronnestad-Stevens) became kind of the team barber for a few of the guys that came in. He definitely impressed a bit of Australian hairstyle on a few of the guys,” Hughes said.

From cutting hair, collecting kicks or competing on the field, Hughes said Ronnestad-Stevens knows how to leave his mark.

“It’s in his personality off the soccer field where he wants to learn and he wants to embrace the opportunities that he’s been given in U.S.,” Hughes said. “Whether that’s through a shoe collection or going to Milwaukee sporting events, he has that mindset and he wants to be part of something that’s maybe a little bit bigger than just himself.”

This article was written by Ava Mares. She can be reached via email at [email protected] or via Twitter @avamaresMU 

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