Senior Series: Owen Bates

Senior Series: Owen Bates

Syd Burnama, Staff Writer

Senior men’s soccer athlete Owen Bates was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California. Westmont coaches had their eyes on Bates since his sophomore year of high school, and when they offered the position, he happily said ‘yes.’ Although Bates was aware that Westmont had its differences, he quickly felt comfortable around campus and among his peers, as the Santa Barbara soccer scene was nothing new for the long-time athlete. 

Bates has played soccer since he was five years old. At the age of nine, he began participating in club soccer, where he was old enough to remember the passion and love that grew from game to game. As Bates continued playing soccer throughout high school, he was confident in his skills to play at the collegiate level as he was recruited at a young age. Ironically, he stated that he was recruited because “after my club game, where the Westmont coaches were there to watch players from the other team, my team won 3-0 and I scored a goal, so they ended up recruiting me.” When the coaches intended to focus on the other team, Bates’ performance and control of the game was enough for them to see his potential. Anyone who has watched a Westmont men’s soccer game knows how easy it is to spot Bates on the field, due to his communication and presence in the game. 

The forward soccer position is not an easy one to maintain. While the player in this position has multiple responsibilities, their main objective is to score goals for the team. The players on the field must do everything correctly so the forwards can get the ball to score. Imagining that level of trust and responsibility is a lot harder than one would think. However, when you have a player like Bates, there is no doubt he will get the job done and score a goal for the team. Because of his position on the field, Bates’s most memorable moment happened during his junior year “against Vanguard … when I was able to score a crucial goal in a crucial game, which helped to win the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC).”

Although he has been a phenomenal asset to the team, Bates explained that his “2018 freshman year experience was pivotal and humbling, since I worked hard to get game minutes in a competitive team with many good players, and learned how to adjust to being a college student, as well as a college athlete.” From that point forward, the rest is history, and Bates soon earned his position and respect from his teammates. However, due to an injury, Bates was unfortunately not able to play during the 2021 season. 

On the bright side, being a medical redshirt has opened the door to play soccer at the professional level, or even playing in grad school, if he decides to pursue that path. The impact soccer has had on Bates is evident and inspiring. He stated, “Soccer has taught me a lot about work ethic and that soccer is powerful for creating strong bonds with my teammates.” 

Unsure where the Lord will lead him next, Bates looks forward to finishing out the school year academically and plans on continuing to make memories with those close to him. We are sad to see him go, but we are grateful he will never forget Westmont College Soccer.

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