SDSU’s Kyle Adams, from New Zealand, has been a surprise for men’s soccer this year

by Jocelyn Moran, Staff Writer

Although he started playing soccer at 4 years old, San Diego State men’s soccer freshman defender Kyle Adams wouldn’t have said he wanted to play professionally until later on in his life.

Adams was raised in Auckland, New Zealand, and started playing soccer because his dad was a coach and his older brother played, as well.

It wasn’t until he was 16 that he realized he wanted to continue playing soccer at the highest level.

“I sort of had the professional ambition and then realized that (college soccer) was going to help me go professional,” Adams said.

The realization didn’t click without facing some setbacks.

“When I was about 16, I had a bit of a slump. I wasn’t playing that well,” Adams said. “That was the moment when I decided whether or not I wanted to keep playing every day and pursue my dream.”

The road toward his dream started to solidify when he arrived in San Diego last summer to play in San Diego Surf Cup.

Surf Cup is a summer showcase in in San Diego that attempts to connect student-athletes with colleges and universities.

“Coach (Lev Kirshner) was quite interested in me then,” Adams said. “We started talking for about a month, and then he gave me an offer to come over.”

Adams was looking at other universities, such as UC Irvine and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, but SDSU felt right.

“The weather, the facilities and the coaching staff really intrigued me to come here as a stepping stone to going professional,” Adams said. “My brother lives in Oceanside. It’s nice to have family close.”

Adams’s qualities stood out for Kirshner, but what he has been able to do for the team this season has surprised the head coach.

“I didn’t see the things he’s good at now,” Kirshner said. “I knew he was good with the ball, but I didn’t realize he was good in the air.”

Adams is only a freshman, but he’s proved to be a key player in keeping the defensive line tight for the team.

He earned a spot on the TopDrawerSoccer Team of the Week on Sept. 8 and was the only Pac-12 player on the team that week.

Adams followed that up by scoring his first collegiate goal against University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley, on Sept. 18.

“It was pretty special,” Adams said. “I’m not really known for scoring goals, but it was nice to get one.”

Coming from New Zealand to the U.S. can be an overwhelmimg transition for any person, nonetheless a college freshman.

Going to  class, learning how to be on your own and soccer only add to the stress. However, Adams has been handling it well with the help of his family and the coaches.

Besides a few little quirks, the change hasn’t been too hard on him.

“It’s a little bit hotter here. But other than that, (the change) isn’t too bad. They drive on the right side of the road here,” Adams said. “That’s kind of funny.”

Adams has contributed greatly to the Aztecs’ backline as they have allowed more than one goal in only one match and hold a 0.8 goals-against average this season.

“He’s been stepping up to his qualities and we would be in a lot of trouble right now if it wasn’t for him,” Kirshner said. “He’s a freshman starter, and that’s very rare.”