After transferring to the Queen City from Chapel Hill, the junior has brought a lot to the field
After sitting out for a season, transfer Marco Sunol-Rojas has made his presence known on the field. He is second in the team in goals, with three so far this season. He also is responsible for three assists, giving him nine points total.
After his father hung up the cleats of his professional soccer career in Costa Rica, his family moved from their country to the states.
“He wanted to bring us over to the U.S. for a better opportunity,” Sunol-Rojas said.
Having Costa Rican parents while growing up in America, Sunol-Rojas is naturally bilingual.
“I don’t really remember learning English or Spanish, so that’s a plus,” Sunol-Rojas said.
Coming from a culture like Costa Rica, where soccer is highly valued, Sunol-Rojas developed an early passion for the sport. The five-foot-eleven forward was given the opportunity to play for the U-23 Costa Rican National Team. Even though he would say he is “more American,” Sunol-Rojas felt right at home during his time with the team.
“It was awesome to be able to represent my country. They call me ‘gringo’ over there because I live in America. Most of them don’t speak English at all, and they even notice a little accent in my Spanish,” Sunol-Rojas said.
“The soccer over in Costa Rica is “less organized,” Sunol-Rojas said. The game in both countries is different, but he enjoys playing in both settings.
“A lot to do with the U.S. soccer is the structure, formations. Over there people have a lot of talent, a lot of skill but it’s a free-for-all,” Sunol-Rojas said. “It’s a different kind of soccer there and it’s fun flipping back and forth.”
Sunol-Rojas received a scholarship to attend and play soccer at Greensboro Day where he would become a four-star recruit. He committed to UNC to play soccer after they defeated the 49ers in the 2011 NCAA Championship game.
However during his freshman season in Chapel Hill, he didn’t feel he was in the right place.
“I didn’t get to express myself the way I wanted to,” Sunol-Rojas said.
With that he reconnected with head soccer coach Kevin Langan and got the ball rolling on becoming a 49er.
While sitting out for a year due to transfer rules was “terrible,” Sunol-Rojas developed a lot of discipline during his time of purely training.
“It tests your mental strength and patience. I just had to put my head down and train the whole time and stay together with the team,” Sunol-Rojas said.
Sunol-Rojas found himself on SportCenter’s top 10 plays after a bicycle kick found the net against Hofstra, giving the transfer his first goal of the season.
“I just thought it was a nice goal, and then everyone started talking about it,” Sunol-Rojas said. “I couldn’t have planned it any better.”