Freshman brings skills to men’s soccer

Freshman Jovi Munoz has scored four goals in the first two games of the season after transferring to UTD from Oklahoma State. Photo by Anna Phengsakmueang | Mercury Staff.

A freshman men’s soccer player was named American Southwest Conference player of the week after scoring four goals in the first two games of the regular season.

Freshman forward Jovi Munoz scored the goals during the team’s trip to Colorado Springs, where they played Colorado College and Whitman College. During the first game against the former on Aug. 31, Munoz was able to not only score the final point of the game, but also perform a hat trick, one of 21 in men’s soccer history, scoring three points in a single game and pushing the team to victory. Munoz gave the Comets their only goal against Whitman College on Sept. 2, winning the game for the team in the second half. For his success in securing the points in both games, he was named Player of the Week on Sept. 4. 

Originally from Arlington, Texas, Munoz attended Mansfield Summit High, where he played football and managed to kick a 58-yard field goal that was featured in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He then played football for Oklahoma State University during the 2017 season, ending in third in the Big 12 Conference. He transferred to UTD during the 2018 season and is currently studying psychology. Munoz said the switch allowed him to get back to playing soccer and gave him more time for schoolwork.

“I missed the sport for one, and Oklahoma State really wasn’t a good fit for me. I didn’t fit the student body and it was hard to balance academics with football,” Munoz said. “It’s like a full-time job over there.”

As a forward, Munoz acts as the main offensive player for the team, making scoring goals his primary focus during the game. Head coach of men’s soccer Jason Hirsch said that Munoz is at his best when he’s making runs from behind the field, and his teammates can read what he’s about to do and what they need to do to help him score.

“A lot of guys understand what he’s trying to do and try to meet him. He’s good at holding the ball up in particular,” Hirsch said. “He’s good about making those runs from behind, and all our players understand, and they start to adapt to what he’s looking for, which helps us.”

The team played Ozark on Sept. 13, winning the game 2-1, with Munoz securing the first goal of the night in the second half of the game. The win brings him to a total of five goals this season, highest on the team so far. He currently carries a 0.455 percent shot average, the second-highest for the team, and a 0.636 percent shot-on-goal average, the third-highest for the team.

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