GRADUATES: Make Their Mark - Joe Sagar '12By Brianna Berens ‘12
McKendree University senior Joe Sagar ‘12, began playing soccer (football) at a young age in the United Kingdom. He attended Hulme Grammar School in Oldham, England, where his passion for the sport ignited and his superb skills garnered attention from across the pond at McKendree.
Sagar was offered a soccer scholarship in 2007, when he sent in videotape demonstrating his soccer skills. “I knew I wanted to attend college in the United States, and I also knew I wanted to play soccer at the college level,” he said. Surprisingly, Sagar never visited McKendree before making his decision to attend. “I did a lot of research over the internet, talked to a lot of people and my would-be coaches, and made my decision from there.” Making the decision to leave his friends and family was not an easy one; however, he feels that he has adjusted well to a culture very different from his own. “I feel that I have become more accepting of people and their views. I have learned so much from the people here and especially had many lessons in tolerance,” said Sagar. He quickly discovered when he arrived on campus that he was a member of a special team comprised of a core group of international and American players who all spoke the same language: soccer.
"I have made so many great friends here and shared some awesome memories."
A four-year starter for the Bearcats, Sagar’s goalkeeping ability has been an asset to the men’s soccer team. He has set career records in goals-against average (.90), wins (50), and shutouts (19). “I have enjoyed every moment of playing for McKendree and the thought of graduating and leaving this school that has given me so many opportunities saddens me” said Sagar. “I have made so many great friends here and shared some awesome memories.”
Sagar describes his playing style as “intense.” “As a senior, the other upperclassmen and I are expected to be leaders for our team. We try to lead by example and show that we are a hardworking team made of grit and steel.” The team had an exceptional season this year, only losing one game to Hannibal-LaGrange. He enjoyed the team’s trip to California, where they played and were victorious against Vanguard. “That was a big win for us for sure,” he said.
Another memorable game was the team’s victory over William Woods College. During that game the team broke the McKendree school record with 17 wins, which he described as a “personal high” for him.
"I feel that you will regret not working hard and getting your degree later in life if you don’t put in the effort now."
Sagar is not only a great athlete, but a well-rounded student. The physical education major, has maintained a high GPA each year since his first year as a student, and plans to graduate with honors in May. He looks forward to it, but is somewhat saddened by the idea of leaving all of his McKendree friends and teammates. His advice to underclassmen would be, “Attend class. I know it sounds cliché but I have seen way too many students fail out of college for silly reasons. Don’t skip class to play Call of Duty. I feel that you will regret not working hard and getting your degree later in life if you don’t put in the effort now.”
Sagar plans to continue his involvement with the sport that he loves after he graduates. His goal is to eventually become a head coach of a university. What will he miss the most? “Everything! Especially the team. I love being a part of such an awesome program at a great school. We are a very close-knit team, I have known most of the seniors since my first year here and we have been through a lot together. It has been a great journey and I have enjoyed every moment.”
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