I would like to take some time to thank a very special group of people. The six young men who comprise this years’ Senior class have meant a lot to our program, and to me personally, over the last few years. It has been a pleasure to coach them, and an honor to be a part of their lives. As a group, this class will always hold a special place in my heart. They were freshmen when I came into the program as an assistant coach, and they are the Senior Class that has led our program in my first year as a head coach. They have sacrificed a lot physically and socially over the last four years for our program, and their spirit and willingness to give of themselves for our team will be remembered for a long time to come.
It is hard to believe my last moments in a Huskie uniform are gradually coming to an end. It seems like just yesterday I was playing in my first soccer game as a 4 year old, and within the next couple of months my soccer career will be ending. It's been a long journey, but without certain people in my past, especially the last four years, nothing would have been possible. First and Foremost, I want to thank my two biggest fans. Thank you Mom and Dad for driving me to practices and games as a young kid, giving me advice in times of need, and most of all...believing in me.
It really is unbelievable how fast four years of playing college soccer can pass. I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I came here in 2006, but now I can definitely say that the experience has surpassed my expectations. I am incredibly impressed by the culture that surrounding college athletics and, as sad as it can be, I know that I will never again live anything like it. Believe or not, playing soccer for an American university had been one of my life goals even as I was growing up in Mexico. I'm always going to remember this stage of my life, how different it was from everything I was used to, the games that we played, and obviously the people that I met.
It feels surreal really that I find myself writing my senior farewell. I can remember first walking on to campus for the first day of preseason my freshmen year not knowing what to expect. Would I fit it? Would the rest of the team like me? The answer was an obvious yes. I mean who in the world could not like Josh Karsten. My freshmen year was one of the most successful and memorable seasons that I have ever been a part of. With wins over Michigan State, Dayton, Drake, Bradley, Portland, and Akron, twice, we earned a bid to the NCAA tournament. I found myself contributing more than I even expected. With some players picking up injuries I ended starting and playing the majority of games. But all good things must come to an end. We fell to #6 Indiana 1-0.
I can say writing this letter has become the most difficult task that I have dealt with in my college career. As I look back at my four years of college and soccer there are so many moments and games that I will forever cherish. Before I kick things off, I know this might sound cliché but first and foremost I want to thank the most amazing people in my life, my parents. They have stuck with me through thick and thin, drove me from state to state to play, but most importantly believed in me as an athlete and a student. For this I cannot thank them enough and I hope they can understand this through this letter. Thank you guys so much, I love the both of you.
I can't believe its Senior Day already. I've experienced so much in the last four years of my life, and NIU has provided me opportunities to grow not only as an athlete but also a man. I've had the opportunity to experience a journey that not many people get to take in their lifetime and I'm very thankful for that.
I'd first like to thank God. He has opened so many doors for me while I've been at NIU. Freshman year I was able to go down to New Orleans through Campus Crusade for Christ to help with relief work. Through our Sports ministry on Campus (Athletes in Action) I have been able to spend the last two summers playing soccer and learning how to praise God through my sport.
"NIU Men's soccer..." someone said to me on the day before my very first college preseason, "...is the toughest thing you'll ever love." This statement has upheld to be a resounding truth for what I would refer to as the greater years of my life. I have persevered through many things in my 21 years, but none of them demanded as much heart, commitment, and sacrifice as my time as being a Huskie soccer player--however none of them have been as rewarding either. For me, the journey began when I was three years old; ever since, I've been insatiable. I have learned a lot, and I'm sure I can attribute my massive personal growth to any of several themes, but I'd like to focus on endurance. The way I see it, there are three types of endurance worth reflecting about: communal endurance, personal endurance, and life endurance.