Championships, life lessons highlight soccer player’s career at URI

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KINGSTON, R.I. – May 9, 2007 – Few student-athletes get to experience what Mark Sauter has at the University of Rhode Island: three Atlantic 10 Conference soccer titles in four years; three trips to the NCAA tournament and being a member of the dean’s list every semester at the University.

Sauter, of Columbus, Ohio, earned his bachelor’s degree in December as a history and political science major. He’ll celebrate his accomplishments by participating in this month’s commencement exercises.

The former Rhody goalkeeper is planning to pursue law school and hopes to be admitted to the University of Cincinnati.

Soccer coach John O’Connor envisions a great future for Sauter. “He was the starting keeper for the 2006 season, but freshman Chris Pennock slowly edged him out. Mark understood and embraced the team concept. He is the type of player who is ready whether you need him whether it is for 5 minutes or 90. Chris missed the game against Harvard because of an injury, and Mark went the whole 90 minutes. He was a very important part of a big win. Mark was a gentleman throughout the season and he was especially important during our A-10 and NCAA runs.”

O’Connor said Sauter’s maturity and intellect set him apart. “He was a member of the team who helped the younger guys on the field and on their studies. I see him having a bright future as a lawyer.”

Sauter finished with a 3.9 grade point average and was named to the Atlantic 10 Academic All Conference team in the fall. He was named to the A-10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll six times. He is this year’s recipient of the President’s Excellence Award in history. A member of the Phi Eta Sigma freshman honor society and Chi Alpha Sigma national college athlete honor society, he was named the outstanding history student in his junior and senior years at URI.

Sauter is proud of his academic record, but he said the personal connections at URI have meant the most to him. “My time here was great because we had great players who have become great friends,” Sauter said. “My fellow players were from 12 countries and so we learned a great deal from each other. There were so many lessons about culture, religion and families. I got so much out of it.

“I’ll miss every day practicing with the guys; I guess it’s all over too quickly,” said Sauter, one of the keynote speakers at a reception earlier this year for student-athletes on the dean’s list.

“I am extremely grateful to my coaches, and especially for the O’Connors’ home cooked team meals,” he said during the reception. “ It was an honor to be part of his family. I hope to conduct myself in such a manner as a young adult and later on when I have a family.”

Sauter said without the many individual encounters on campus he would not have become who he is today. “I credit my personal growth to interaction with my teammates. I have heard firsthand accounts of struggles in other countries through my teammates. Even when there were differences in our races, religions and cultures, we came together. These are the life lessons that have enriched my life.”

Pictured above
Mark Sauter, of Columbus, Ohio, will enter law school after earning his bachelor’s degree at the University of Rhode Island. URI News Bureau photo by Joe Giblin.