Spotlight on Men's Soccer

There are vocal leaders. There are big leaders. And then there is Nick Magnuson.

Though the senior captain from Stillwater, Minnesota, is a soft-spoken sort and stands only 5-5, he is a large reason why the men's soccer team is having such a successful 2000 season.

"Unlike most captains, I'm not the 'rah-rah' guy who's constantly in your face," Magnuson said. "I feel my teammates respect me more for my on-field leadership and for saying the right things at the right time to get people going. In this respect I'm a lot similar to Bobby Meyer, our ''99 captain. He didn't say much, but when he did, everyone knew he meant it. I have that same trait."

His coach, Fran O'Leary, agrees.

"He is our most influential player," said O'Leary, "as he is blessed with the drive and ability to help his teammates raise the level of their game. His play on the field, coupled with his positive leadership off it, has played a key role in our turnaround. In a nutshell, he is our best player and one of the best that I have come in contact with throughout my years as a college coach."

The midfielder was named honorable mention All-Ivy last season, and scored one of the most important goals this season - at Princeton, he tied the game at 1-1, propelling Dartmouth to a 3-1 win against the defending Ivy champs on September 23.

Behind Magnuson's guidance and skills, Dartmouth has a 3-0 record in the Ivy League, its best conference start since 1997. And the team's seven wins are four more than the Big Green managed all of last year.

"We already have seven wins in nine games," he said. "At this point last year, I don't think we had one yet. We're all one year wiser this year and that helps."

Magnuson understands what is expected of him and the other seniors on the team.

"The most important task for all the seniors has been to set the standard for what is expected of the younger players and the rest of the team," he said. "The senior leadership thus far has been second to none."

Magnuson's leadership and skills have been cultivated through a long history with soccer. At Stillwater Area High School, he was a two-year captain on a team that won two state championships, two regional championships and three league titles. During Magnuson's junior and senior seasons, his team went 44-0-2, and he was named All-Midwest, All-State, All-Metro, All-Conference and team MVP. Twice.

After such a stellar high school career, what made Magnuson decide to come to New Hampshire?

"It was really a choice between here and Princeton," he said. "My initial goal out of high school was to continue my education at the best school possible. After visiting Princeton and here, the decision was not hard. Dartmouth felt more like home."

He has been happy with his choice ever since.

"At Dartmouth, I've had the best of many worlds - a great education, four years of top-level soccer and friends plus a campus to share it all with," Magnuson said. "I'm very grateful for being where I am."

But there is one thing missing for Magnuson.

"The only goal I have for the season is an Ivy title," he said. "After being stripped of it my freshman and sophomore years, all other goals fail in comparison. Personally, I'm trying to take greater responsibility and an even greater leadership role in the pursuit of the title."

Though Magnuson may be a quiet captain, you can be sure his teammates are listening. (Jarratt Clarke '01)

Nick Magnuson's recruiting trip to Dartmouth was made possible by the generosity of the Dartmouth Class of 1938 and Walter Burke '44.