Bitter-Swede End to Soccer Career


Photo by Christian Forte, Illustration by Grace Halio

Petter Aasa, who will have served as captain for two seasons, will leave the team upon graduation in May.

Lorenzo Gazzola, Contributing Writer

It is always difficult to say goodbye to home. Sadly, that is precisely what NYU men’s soccer senior captain Petter Aasa will be doing in May. After four years with the Violets, the time has come for Aasa to part ways with NYU.

New York City was not always what Aasa called home. Born in Umeå, Sweden, he attended Shattuck-St. Mary’s boarding school in Minnesota. There, he kept his grades up in the classroom while also traveling and competing with the soccer team.

As high school came to an end, it was time for him to think about his future and decide whether he wanted to go to college back in Europe or stay in the United States, which is when NYU came knocking.

“Being in high school, and the first person in my family to even think about attending college in the U.S., I had no idea about which college I wanted to be at,” Aasa said. “It was all random chance, as I was recruited to play for NYU after the coaches had watched me play for Shattuck down in Sarasota during an academy showcase.”

After being recruited by the Violets and given an opportunity to attend school in New York City, Aasa was resolute.

In the fall of 2013, he began a new life at NYU’s downtown Manhattan campus as a freshman in the Stern School of Business.

“The transition from high school to New York City was extremely smooth even though the contrasts between my high school in Faribault, Minnesota and NYU are immense,” Aasa said. “I quickly fell in love with the city and everything it has to offer, and I am extremely happy that I chose to come to NYU.”

Immediately after his arrival in New York, Aasa’s impact was clear. As a freshman, he made 15 appearances in the season, 14 of which were starts. Things only went uphill from there for the next three years. After being named joint team captain as a sophomore, Aasa wore the captain’s armband for the remainder of his career with the Violets. In this time, he was named an ECAC Division III Metro First Team All-Star, to the Second Team All-UAA twice and to the Honorable Mention All-UAA once.

Besides leaving his own mark on the pitch, Aasa has embodied a true captain, and has led his fellow upperclassmen teammates while also passing on his experience to the newer and younger players.

“He’s someone everyone looks toward for advice and he along with the rest of the seniors did a great job integrating the freshman into the team by making us feel welcome as players and as friends,” freshman teammate Drew Enyedi said.

Aasa has also excelled in the classroom, and been a regular on the Intercollegiate Athletic Advisory Committee Fall Honor Roll and was named a UAA Fall Sport All-Academic twice in his time at NYU. It has not always been smooth sailing for Aasa though, trying to balance an intensive training and match schedule while also keeping up with his rigorous course work as a Business major in Stern, as well as completing a minor in psychology.

“It is not easy being a student-athlete at NYU. My four years playing for NYU’s soccer team have been a constant struggle trying to balance soccer and school while also trying to make the most out of living in New York City. It has, however, been an incredible experience for me and has helped me grow as a person, player, student, teammate and friend in so many different ways.”

The time has come for Aasa to hang up his cleats with the Violets. Nevertheless, from coming in as a freshman to leading the team as a senior captain — as well as everything in between — on and off the pitch, Aasa will always keep his memories at NYU in his heart.

“After I graduate in May and look back at my four years in college, most of my dearest memories will stem from being on the soccer team,” Aasa said. “The dearest thing that playing soccer for NYU has provided me are the friendships that I have made with my teammates throughout the years. My career at NYU hasn’t been decorated with championships, but the friendships playing soccer at NYU has given me are so much more meaningful than any trophy.”

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Nov. 21 print edition. Email Lorenzo Gazzola at [email protected]