Athlete of the Year: Jesse Klug ’16

Devan Schulte, Senior Writer

During his competitive soccer season, Jesse Klug ’16 wakes up each morning, goes to class, rushes to practice, finishes his homework, and heads to bed. Although this may seem like a typical routine for any Bison student-athlete, Klug is anything but normal. The senior soccer standout has managed to rack up so many awards and achievements over the course of his four years as a Bison that he cannot even recall them all. Most recently named a Senior CLASS First Team All-American, the Sammamish, Wash. native has attained the highest levels of success that a student-athlete can aim for.

Klug has been a crucial four-year starter for the Orange and Blue, collecting the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year award for men’s soccer after the conclusion of the fall 2015 season.

Amidst all the glory, Klug has managed to stay humble and grounded, recognizing the crucial role that those around him have played in shaping him as a player in the last four years.

“I don’t think anything I’ve done in my four years would’ve been possible without my teammates or coaches. I have a lot of respect for my coaches. Although we certainly disagree at times, that doesn’t change the fact that they’re very good at their jobs and have played a huge role throughout my career,” Klug said.

Klug will graduate with 77 career points on 29 goals and 19 assists, highlighting his standing as one of the league’s top offensive threats the past four years. He has also collected two All-Patriot League and two All-Mid-Atlantic region selections, and was a vital member of the powerful Bison offensive unit that collected a Patriot League Championship during his junior campaign.

The 6’0’’ Managing for Sustainability major secured 17 points on five goals and seven assists in his senior season despite a heartbreaking broken foot early into the team’s Patriot League debut.

“It was very hard. I knew it was broken right when it happened and my goal at that point was to make it back for Senior Night. I wanted Senior Night to mean something and I told my team that,” Klug said.

Klug spent the heart of his last season rehabilitating his foot with hopes to make it back onto the field wearing orange and blue. Klug was healthy enough to join the seven other seniors in celebrating their accomplishments on Senior Night against Army with a crucial win.

Although the Bison fell to Lehigh in the team’s Patriot League quarterfinal match, Klug was thrilled to have spent the last game of his career alongside his teammates on the pitch. Klug said that his injury helped him learn to accept what you can’t change, and to keep being persistent regardless of obstacles.

Klug’s persistence and determination are what enabled him to achieve so much success both on the field and in the classroom throughout his four years at the University. He has also mastered the balancing act of college athletics to a tee, managing to join several organizations across campus outside of athletics, particularly those involving the LGBTQ community.

Most recently, Klug attended an NCAA conference where he sat on a panel for LGBTQ best practices to speak about masculinity in men’s sports. As a soccer player since age four, Klug notes the significance of growing up in the athletics community and the way that it molds individuals into the people they will be once cleats are permanently hung up.

“Make sure you enjoy what you do and remember that the point of athletics is not just to get better at your sport, but much more than that. Athletics makes you a better and more developed person as a whole,” Klug said.

As he heads home to Seattle to work with at-risk youth next year, Klug will take each of the lessons he has learned from his 17-year career and apply them in the work world. Wherever he may go from here—in athletics, activism, or academics—Klug hopes that his coaches’ words will still ring true no matter what.

“They’ve always told me that if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, then you’re not doing it right,” Klug said.


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