SMC Soccer Scores With International Students
The mens and women's leading scorers are both international students. Both teams are #1 in their conference and are ranked highly in state rankings.
Santa Monica Colleges (SMC) women's soccer team is currently ranked number six in California and number one in their conference. Men’s soccer is also number one in their conference which confirms SMC as a soccer powerhouse. With students from different ethnicities, cultures, and backgrounds, it is no surprise that two of our leading scorers are both international students.
Cyrille Njomo (men’s soccer #9), a 26-year-old from Cameroon, has scored 13 goals this season for the Corsairs. Filippa Stuxsjo (womens soccer #17) is a 22-year-old Swedish native has put an impressive 17 goals in the back of the net. Stuxsjo has scored in every conference game this season. Both international all-stars also have both scored hat-tricks this season.
Both players have lived and breathed soccer throughout their lives. Struxsjo began playing at age five on a boys team. A year later, she joined the girls, playing club soccer ever since. In high school, she joined her school team, having to conciliate playing for both her school and her club. After graduation, she worked for four years in customer service before trying out for Santa Monica College's soccer team in the summer of 2017.
Njomo has been playing soccer since the age of two, and found comfort playing the forward position. This is only his fourth year in the United States and he says he is still getting used to American soccer tactics and style of play. Njomo said, “back home we play a little more physical and more technical, here, it is a lot less physical because we hold the ball a lot longer.”
For Struxsjo, the idea of attending college in California under a soccer scholarship immediately clicked with her eagerness for adventure and starting something new. “Sweden is an amazing country, but I lived there my whole life, and everything has been the same so I wanted to accomplish something else" said Struxsjo.“Ever since I played soccer in high school, I always wanted to play here in the United States. I remember scouts would come to my school and talk about it but I was like - no, it is so complicated, I looked into it but didn't do anything about it. I began to work after high school and I liked my job but after four years I was like - no, now it is time to do something else and I just went for it.”
Njomo partially came to SMC because of how many international students attend the college. He went on to explain that having so many international students around made it easier for him to communicate with the students around campus. He also explained that being an international student is hard because he feels like they do more than they’re supposed to, “because without challenge you aren’t living a real life." Njomos parents have never watched him play a game of soccer. His parents are still over 8,000 miles away, but it does not seem to faze his ability to perform on the field.
Being a part of a great team is far more than just having multiple great athletes . While discussing the success of the mens soccer team Njomo said, “We work very very hard, we are full time students first and then we are athletes. We always socialize together and we are like a family and with that comes success.”
Struxjso success comes a little differently, “I always live by the motto; When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful. It defines me a lot as a person because even though there’s like friends, family, soccer and school. I never do anything halfway, I always fully invest myself in it.”
Njomo made it clear that the mens team takes their games one at a time. He doesn’t like to look past the games he hasn’t played yet while Struxsjo has very clear future goals in sight. Struxsjo says,”I also want to make it further in the conference playoffs, because last year we lost in the first round. It is sad that this is my last season, time goes by so fast.”
Njomo is currently a mechanical engineering major and has been approached by a few colleges including Cal State Fullerton. His main goal is to finish school and get a job here in the United States. Struxsjo is a straight A student here at SMC. She hopes to earn a Bachelor's degree in communications from an American university and remain involved in soccer for as long as possible. “I don’t think I will ever stop playing soccer. I will for as long as I can walk I think, but I cannot rely on it for when I am older so I also want to invest more on my major and career. I do want to try and make it work and play soccer for as long as I can. There is always the hope for a professional career, but you never know, if you have the chance of course you have to take it but that’s the dream, that has always been the dream”.
Soccer is a sport that unifies people of all different sexes, races, and cultures. To have two young scholars take lead on foreign grounds is something to take pride in. Mens and womens soccer will both play their last conference game on November 9 here at SMC. Mens will play Santa Barbara Community College at 1 p.m., and women will play West LA College at 3 p.m.