Men’s soccer player profile: Shawn McNitt-Gray
September 12, 2013
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The NYU men’s soccer team defeated the College of Staten Island 2-1 on Saturday. Sophomore Shawn McNitt-Gray marked his return from a rib injury by scoring the winning goal in the 67th minute, his first goal of the season. The Violets remain unbeaten, having won all four matches they have played.
For the 19-year-old economics major and computer science minor, team results matter much more than personal achievement.
“Anybody can step up, anybody can play, anybody can do well for us,” McNitt-Gray said. “As long as we win games. That’s all we care about.”
The left forward, originally from Culver City, Calif., said the soccer team’s goal this year is to win the UAA conference after not performing well last year. The team plays Stevens Institute of Technology, ranked third in Division III, on Saturday in a nonconference game. McNitt-Gray considers
the match, “a diagnostic test before we head into the UAA.” He also considers team chemistry and a lack of ego as some of the soccer team’s strengths.
“We live together basically,” McNitt-Gray said. “So our team chemistry’s really high, and we can talk to each other on and off the field. We know each other’s reactions.”
He also hopes to increase exposure for the team — and sports in general — around campus. For McNitt-Gray, part of the reason people say there is no sports culture at the university is because they either don’t know teams exist or how talented the teams really are.
“Our home field is an hour away, so we don’t get massive crowds or anything,” he said. “This isn’t a big sports school. But we do exist, and we wear it with pride.”
Soccer has always been a big part of McNitt-Gray’s life. Both he and his older sister played competitive soccer since they were young.
“My whole family has been really involved,” McNitt-Gray said. “My sister and I played since a young age, and I really didn’t stop.”
Even in college, McNitt-Gray devotes a large amount of time to the team and shows an impassioned commitment to its success.
“I think the soccer team is the center, really,” he said. “Practice is in the middle of the day, so we have to schedule our classes and our lives around that. I don’t really have time for other hobbies.”
And with the sheer amount of time McNitt-Gray spends with his teammates, it’s no wonder they know him best, beyond his soft-spoken and unassuming demeanor.
“I’m kind of quiet at first,” McNitt-Gray admitted. “But I’m really that not quiet once you get to know me. You should ask my teammates. Last year, I modeled in the Hayden [residence] hall fashion show, and I took my shirt off at the end of the runway.”
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 12 print edition. Kenneth Lim is a contributing writer. Email him at [email protected]