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Trinity's Alex Steel Embraces Pressure

Hartford, Conn. - Alex Steel, senior captain of the men’s soccer team, has created an experience of his own over his past four years at Trinity, and taken full advantage of what the liberal arts education has to offer. With the uncommon pairing of being a student-athlete and a theater arts major, he finds himself having to perform under pressure more often than many other students. But, his success with both of these passions has proven that he can handle the heat.

Steel has been a central component of the Bantam’s backfield since his freshman year, and has made an even bigger impact on the program through his leadership and dedication to the team. According to Head Coach, Mike Pilger (15th season), Steel is a coach’s dream. “If you come to any game, you will be able to recognize his natural ability to lead and his knowledge for the game by listening to how much he talks on the field. Being vocal is one thing that most players at our level don’t do well enough, but he is talented and passionate enough to do it and do it well.”

Pilger especially commends Alex for his positive attitude despite the team facing some adversity over the last two seasons with many injuries and an extremely young team. “Even though we have been down in the league this season, he shows up every day with a smile on his face, ready to work hard, and doesn’t let anything get him down,” added Pilger.

For Steel, the wins and losses have never been what his time on the soccer team has been about. “The friends I’ve made on the team have been my core group of people at Trinity since the start. I’ve really valued all the people I’ve played with over the years and I’ve learned so much from them.” Steel has lived with his teammates for the past three years, which he feels has definitely helped with the team chemistry. “My teammates are the people I see every day. Living with them provides us a space to talk about soccer without having to be on the field.”

One of Steel’s earliest memories of being on the soccer team and realizing how much the bond of his teammates would come to mean to him, was his rookie year in the team’s final game of the season. They suffered a 4-0 loss to Middlebury to end their season, and Steel vividly remembers seeing the heartbroken seniors shatter in sadness. It was this moment that made him realize that anything can happen in the NESCAC which prompted him to ask himself, “how can I make these next three years count?”

His most-cherished soccer memory was a double-overtime win at Bowdoin during his sophomore year. After 100 minutes of hard fought play, Trinity finally found the back of the net to seal the 1-0 victory. “It was pure ecstasy. That was the happiest I’ve felt on the soccer field,” Steel said. He also recalls his first career goal, a shot with his left foot off a corner kick. “On a team like ours, everything you do is for the good of the team, and it’s so special. That goal was for the team, and everyone gets pumped when moments like that occur because they know you did it for them. I remember sprinting from the goal to the bench with my arms wide open and a smile on my face.”

It was this moment that made him realize that anything can happen in the NESCAC which prompted him to ask himself, “how can I make these next three years count?”

When on the stage for a performance or in front of a crowd in an improv class, Steel uses the same sort of focus he has on the soccer field to succeed. “Whether I’m playing soccer or performing, I try to leave all my outside emotion off the field or stage, and shift my attention to the present and only the people surrounding me. If you get distracted, you’ll play poorly in soccer and if you think about other things while acting, you’ll forget your lines,” he explains.

He claims he first realized he had a knack for performing back in middle school when he would sign up for the school plays. Once he got to high school, he didn’t have time to continue with theater productions because of his busy schedule from being a three-sport athlete, but he was still able to get his creative juices flowing through improv classes. Once at Trinity, he was not set on studying theater, but he decided to take basic acting for fun, and he ended up loving it. “I decided I wanted to continue with something that I loved. For me, acting allowed me enter an imaginary world and leave the stress of everything else behind.” So far, Steel has performed in Trinity’s spring play as a sophomore, two senior theses, and several short films produced by his fellow students. "He is a funny guy and he likes to laugh a lot, so it makes sense he can perform. He is very personable, with a good sense of humor, and that’s why we get along so well,” according to Coach Pilger.

Steel believes that everything he has excelled in started with his parents and the way they raised him. Both of his parents are originally from Scotland, and Steel himself was born in London and lived there until he was five. “My family runs like a European family. We eat two hour sit down meals together, we love the outdoors and don’t do much TV or video games. I think that’s why I grew to love acting so much, because my sister and I would have to create an imaginative world of our own when we were young. We still live by that sort of British culture,” he explains. “Putting my family first has taught me so much. I know the importance of loyalty because of them, and that has helped me be successful with any group I’ve been a part of.”

What comes next for Steel? He hopes to be involved in movie or theater production in some way after graduation, whether its writing, producing, or acting. “I’d like to be a part of anything involved with a stage,” he says. No matter what he ends up doing, he firmly believes that what he has learned here at Trinity will go with him a long way.

“From soccer, I’ve really learned that nothing is for certain and you can’t take anything for granted," he says. "Especially from being a captain this year, I’ve come to understand the importance of being a leader and carrying that weight on your shoulders the right way. When we lose a game, I have to figure out how to turn people’s mindset around. This is what’s taught me to be the best version of myself.”

Steel’s impact on Trinity’s soccer program will remain long after he has graduated. “I still remember the first time I met Alex when I was recruiting, and he was just one of those special guys you look for as a coach. His personality and big smile stood out to me,” recalls Coach Pilger. “I have so many special memories of him coming in my office over the years just to chat, and that’s how I’ll remember him. He’s come to be one of our team’s all-time great players and all-time great guys.”

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