Sunesson, Salmon leave their mark on program

Alan+Salmeron+on+offense+in+Marquette+mens+soccers+2-3+loss+to+Yale.+

Photo by Alex DeBuhr

Alan Salmeron on offense in Marquette men’s soccer’s 2-3 loss to Yale.

One would have thought the Marquette men’s soccer team won the World Cup the way they celebrated its first Big East win of the season on senior night Nov. 2 at Valley Fields.

“I’m unbelievably almost humbled in a way that these guys just kept the faith and kept coming after it and believed in what we were doing and we sent them off really, really well I’m glad they celebrated that victory,” head coach Louis Bennett said.

It also marked the final match for Lukas Sunesson and Alan Salmeron, two five-year members of the Golden Eagles who returned this year on the NCAA COVID-19  extra year of eligibility. 

Playing in their last season together came with a myriad of feelings as their college careers came to an end.

“I was talking about it with Lukas and how it’s pretty surreal, how it’s just all kind of coming to an end. Last time doing everything, the last training session as a Marquette Soccer player,” Salmeron said. “It’s a little emotional because we’ve been here for quite a while but a lot to be thankful and grateful for, it’s been a great experience.”

Sunesson, one of the most successful players in program history with 26 goals, said he looks forward to the next chapter of his life. 

“I’m very excited for the future, but I’m also a little scared,” Sunesson said. “I’ve been here for five years, this is what I’ve known my whole adult life. I’m sad to leave the team but excited for what’s going to come,”                               

Salmeron said he was grateful for the opportunity to return to the Golden Eagles for the additional year. 

“I was very fortunate for them to take me in for my fifth year because they didn’t have to do that,” Salmeron said.

Salmeron said there is more to soccer than just the basic fundamentals as there are life lessons being taught as well. 

“Our coaches are good at not only focusing on soccer but lessons through soccer and being able to apply those through life. There’s this acronym that our coaches use, the three P’s, plan, prepare, perform. I’ve used that through my time here and just in life as well,” Salmeron said.

Salmeron said how the team’s style of play has evolved since his first year of playing. 

“Throughout our years, we’ve definitely started a style that I’ve been wanting to play since my freshman year which is possession based but still trying to go forward. It’s been fun playing,” Salmeron said.

Sunesson said something he will cherish from his time at Marquette are the post game rituals. 

“Singing after a home game win all together in the locker room is an amazing feeling. Every season at our first away win, all the new guys have to sing on their own in front of everyone so that’s a great tradition. I love that one,” Sunneson said. “They’re all awful, no one has good voices.”

Looking back at his career, Salmeron said his most memorable moment was scoring in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament to advance Marquette into the Sweet 16.

“We played Loyola Marymount from California and a lot of the time we didn’t really have the ball but we went to penalty kicks and I scored the winning penalty,” Salmeron said. “That was pretty cool.” 

Sunesson said one of his best times with the team was going abroad with them.

“We went to England my sophomore year, played a bunch of games over there, watched a bunch of professional games. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever had and the biggest memory I have with the team,” Sunesson said.

Looking back five years, Bennett knew that Sunneson and Salmeron would be the players he needed on the pitch. 

 “I met Lukas in Stockholm and I knew he would be a suitable candidate,” Bennett said. “We went to see Alan and he got into a skirmish on the field with a guy that was a little taller than him and he won the battle and I knew that was a guy we wanted,” 

Bennet said that the leadership Salmeron and Sunneson displayed was the impetus for them being captains these past two years.

“No one would ever doubt if Lukas or Alan said something to them, no one would ever question their outstanding effort, their outstanding dedication, their outstanding commitment and that’s very important,” Bennett said.

The two captains formed an everlasting relationship their first year from being placed to live together.

 “Within a month they both knew and respected each other for their work ethic. They have been really really close for five years and they bounce ideas off of each other and it really shows,” Bennett said.

With the season over, Salmeron will receive his masters in Corporate Communication this December while Sunesson will earn his MBA in Business Administration in May. 

Both look to continue their playing career and for Sunesson, he said he is chasing a childhood dream of his.

“I want to keep playing soccer at the highest level possible. We’ll see what opportunities will come my way and then hope for the best. My dream has always been the English Premier League,” Sunesson said.

Salmeron said he is still exploring his options for the future.

“I’ve dedicated a huge amount of time you know of my life playing soccer, so I definitely wanna give it (professional soccer) a shot,” Salmeron said.

Sunesson said it’s been an honor to don the blue and gold these last five years.

“I’m super thankful for everything that Marquette and the men’s soccer program has given me,” Sunesson said. 

Salmeron echoed similar sentiments to Sunesson’s. 

“I wouldn’t be the person or player I am today if it weren’t for them (coaches),” Salmeron said. “I’m super grateful for their time and dedication that they’ve had to me.” 

Bennett said soccer seasons will come and go but it is about the players and people that they grow into that makes the difference.

“You lose the guys that you know the most about and you lose great players, but you don’t lose great people. You pass people on into the next part of their life,” Bennett said.

This article was written by Catherine Fink. She can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @CatherineFinkMU.