Two sets of twins have UIC soccer seeing double
The men’s soccer team has added talent this year — in doubles. The team’s latest additions include transfer student Marco Alvarez — who joins twin Jorge Alvarez on the team — as well as identical twin freshmen Sergio Fuentes and Jose Fuentes.
Playing together since they were young, the twins are excited to be on a collegiate team together.
“I think that was part of my decision to come to UIC,” said Marco, a junior in marketing who transferred from Dominican University this fall. “I just wanted to be part of the same team with my brother.”
Jorge, a junior who has been a member of the UIC soccer team since his freshman year, said he and Marco share a special bond — something only the Fuentes twins can understand. “We have this twin chemistry,” Jorge said. “We know what each of us is thinking on the field, where we’re moving, where we want the ball, where we want it passed.”
The Fuentes twins smiled and nodded, agreeing that they too had that connection that only comes in doubles.
The Fuentes were recruited from Lane Tech High School, where their successful stats and club soccer involvement caught the eye of UIC recruiters. Head coach Sean Phillips said it was twin chemistry that helped Jose score his first goal in his collegiate career against the No. 3 men’s soccer team Creighton University. “Sergio took a pretty hard foul and had to leave the game,” Phillips said. “Jose wanted to stand up for his brother, but he took that energy and used it in a very positive way.”
Named the 2013 National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s All-America soccer player in high school, business major Jose starts this season with two goals. Sergio didn’t think he was going to play collegiate soccer but the referral from his club coach and high school stats persuaded coaches to recruit him.
“It was one day before preseason started and I wasn’t going to play soccer,” said Sergio, an accounting major.
Phillips is pleased with how things worked out. “It was a bit of good fortune for the both of us,” he said. “Sergio really came on strong towards the end of the spring and during the summer.” The midfielder scored his first goal with the UIC team during the season opener against Cal State Fullerton. He is now a starter for the team.
Marco was initially offered a spot on the UIC team straight out of high school but chose instead to attend Dominican University, a Division III school. During his two seasons there, he scored 12 goals and had 17 assists and helped the team get All-NCAA selections in both seasons.
“I just wanted to be a part of something a lot bigger,” Marco said of his decision to play for UIC.
While at Dominican, Marco showed his UIC team spirit and his support for his brother. “I would still see Marco at our games,” Phillips said. “So when Marco wanted a change, we were excited to bring him back in.”
His brother Jorge, who leads the Flames with four goals this season, always wanted to be part of the UIC legacy. “Once UIC offered me a scholarship, I just kind of stopped looking at other schools,” he said.
Jorge scored 10 goals and had 8 assists in his first two seasons at UIC. He was honored as Horizon League’s Offensive Player of the Week last November.
The brothers say that their talent didn’t come easy. “It takes practice,” Jorge said. “Years of practice. Not just in the soccer season.”
But the soccer season is even more demanding, especially because players have to keep up in class. “It takes a lot of dedication,” Jorge said. “It’s kind of like having two jobs.”
That practice and dedication is what the brothers hope will get the Flames to the NCAA 2014 tournament. The team has set a goal to win the conference tournament they lost in 2013.
The twins also hope to win a national championship title this season.
Coach Phillips said their enthusiasm and hard work has made for an unforgettable coaching experience.
“It’s unique but it’s been a pleasure,” he said. “They’re four great people, and four great soccer players.”
All four want to stay involved with soccer for the rest of their lives — even if they can’t play professionally. Marco dreams of using his marketing degree to work for a club team while Jorge, Jose and Sergio still strive to play professionally in the future.
“I think anything is possible,” Jose said. “But there’s still a long way to go.”
Phillips sees a bright future ahead. “I want all four of them to become the best people that they can be,” he said. “And when their time here is done, the ball rolls as it may.”