Playing the World’s Game
LMU’s keeper is learning life’s lesson on the pitch and around the world.
By John Kissell
Senior Pat Sampson has gone far in his LMU career. On the soccer field, he went from red-shirt freshman to starting goalkeeper; he traveled to Costa Rica on a team-building trip; and he spent two weeks in South Korea as part of his studies. Through it all, he developed his soccer skills and deepened his knowledge of the world and commitment to service.
A native of Lake Oswego, Ore., Sampson chose LMU for its balance of academic, athletic and personal opportunities. Success wasn’t handed to him. He was red-shirted his freshman year — kept out of competition to extend his eligibility. In the next two seasons, Sampson played sparingly. He knew he had to be patient, “developing my skills and setting myself up to succeed,” he says. His persistence paid off: In 2008, he played in 16 games, starting in 14, with four shutouts.
Sampson believes he could play professional soccer in the United States or Europe after graduation in December 2009. As a business major, he also sees a future as a leader who can help others. His international travels have shown him that both goals are important.
In spring 2009, the team visited Costa Rica. Sampson saw it as an opportunity to improve, for himself and his team. Playing high-quality opponents, the Lions went 2-1-1 against first- and second-division squads. But it was a trip to an orphanage that left a lasting impression. “It was a special experience. We brought gifts, and just seeing their excitement — how our visit made a difference in their lives — gave us some perspective,” he says.
In summer 2007, Sampson visited South Korea for two weeks with a program of the Center for Asian Business in the College of Business Administration. He toured a TV station, a car manufacturing plant and a shipyard, and he now follows news from that region with special interest.
LMU’s culture of service means a lot to Sampson. He helped Soccer for Hope raise awareness and funds for children with life-threatening illnesses. His squad also spent a day working with Habitat for Humanity. Like a well-trained soccer team, Habitat organizes large groups of people for a common goal. “It is amazing what can be accomplished by a group of 25 dedicated individuals,” Sampson says.