Welshman Finds Success At OSU
By Iman Hamdan
As 28 teammates huddle just seconds before the soccer match begins, junior Emery Welshman says a silent prayer. This Oregon State University striker asks God for two things for him and his teammates: protection from harm and to have the best game possible.
Following in the footsteps of his older brother, this Ontario native's love for the game started 16 years ago. As he continually exceeds expectations, Welshman's passion, athletic talent, and determination to achieve goals strengthens with each passing year.
Welshman played club soccer for the Canadian Academy Team Sigma FC for four years. In 2009, he was the most sought-after player of his graduating class. Siena and OSU were two of the countless numbers of schools interested.
"I always wanted to go far away from home as a junior in high school," said Welshman. "But when it really came down to it, I didn't think that I was ready to be that far away from home."
Welshman chose to attend Siena, located near Albany, N.Y. But wanting to be close to home was not the only reason.
"I had a good relationship with the assistant coach at Siena, and he was a really good recruiter," Welshman said.
In his freshman year, Welshman started 19 games, was named rookie of the year, was named All-MAAC second-team, and made the all-rookie team. These titles were personal goals he set at the beginning of the season, but the fondest memory of his freshman year was scoring the gaming-winning goal in Siena's double overtime victory over Boston College.
"One of my really good friends from Sigma FC played for Boston College his freshman year as well, so it was pretty hyped up back at home," said Welshman. "We were clearly the underdogs going into the game and we came out with the win."
In his sophomore year, Welshman set what his coaches considered to be a "lofty goal." He wanted to be named conference offensive player of the year. However, during the second game of the season he rolled his ankle.
Determined to achieve his goal, Welshman continued to play through his injury until the coaching staff explained it would be beneficial for his ankle to heal before returning to the field. After missing five games, Welshman returned to the field and was named 2010 MAAC Men's Soccer Offensive Player of the Year.
After two seasons of playing at Siena, Welshman realized he wanted a new challenge in his soccer career.
"I felt to make the next step in my level, I needed to push myself further," said Welshman. "It was a hard decision of course. There was a lot of thinking and talking to friends, family, and coaches."
Welshman continues, "I made the choice to attend Oregon State because it is in the Pac-12 and because it's one of the best conferences."
Being an upperclassman transfer student makes the transition to a new team a bit complicated, but Welshman was welcomed with open arms and embraced his new role as striker for the Beavers.
"Emery is a solid individual and a likable person," said OSU head coach Steve Simmons. "Him being our goal-scorer takes pressure off other players and changed how we attack."
Simmons said his expectations of Welshman include getting use to the new program, helping the team either by scoring or assisting in scoring, and for him to take a professional approach as he plays better soccer.
As the Beavers took on Washington in their conference opener, Simmons saw Welshman's enthusiasm for playing. He scored one goal and earned an assist on another, leading the Beavers to a 2-1 victory over the Huskies. This performance earned him the title of Bank of the West Pac-12 Player of the Week.
Beyond his collegiate play, Welshman wants to pursue a professional soccer career.
"It's been a dream of mine since I started to play, and wherever the sport takes me I would love to go," said Welshman.
Starting off playing in the United States would be a realistic first step, but he does dream of playing in a European league one day.
"Emery has the ambition to achieve that goal," explains Simmons. "I tell him you have to do well where you're at, do your job, and help the team win, and then the rest will fall into place."