Senior Marc Ybarra has been a midfielder and captain of the men’s soccer team for three seasons in a row. Not only has he started in 87 of the 88 games during his college career, the most of any U-M men’s soccer player, he has also earned several academic awards for his achievement as a student in the Ross School of Business.
Michigan Alum gleaned the following in a conversation with Ybarra.
WHILE ATTENDING Skyline High School in Ann Arbor, Ybarra played for the elite Michigan Wolves Soccer Club. This was great for his technical improvement, but it meant he was unable to play for his school team. “That was always a little bit tough,” Ybarra says. “I wish I could have had the chance to play for my school and have the students behind me, so that definitely weighed in my decision to come to Michigan.”
AND SURE ENOUGH, during his first season Ybarra made an immediate impact, starting in 18 of 19 matches, tying for the most team assists, and netting the winning goal against Wisconsin. Most importantly, Ybarra and the 2017 men’s soccer team ranked first in the Big Ten regular season for the first time in the program’s history.
“That freshman year was really great because of the coaches placing their faith in me,” Ybarra says. “And then, obviously, that freshman year for us was the most successful we’ve seen so far. We won the Big Ten regular season, which was the first time the program had done it, so it was really fun being a part of that team.”
THE FALL 2021 SEASON has been challenging for the Wolverines so far. “It started off a little tough,” Ybarra explains. “There were just a lot of new pieces and new faces on the field compared to what I was used to.” Realizing that the team was out of sync, Ybarra emphasized the importance of communication. As a captain, too, he identified listening to others as an essential part of his leadership style.
“In the past couple years, we’ve had a bigger roster of maybe 31 or 32 guys on the team,” Ybarra says. “So hearing different perspectives on the field, where a lot of the time I’m the one giving the direction, but definitely off the field as well, I’ve found to be really valuable.”
YBARRA’S GOAL after U-M is to become a professional soccer player. His first move will most likely be the Major League Soccer draft, which would land him in the rapidly growing North American soccer scene. “That’s the dream for me, but I’m also keeping the door open, if any opportunities come up, to playing anywhere in the world. I have no idea where the next destination is after Ann Arbor, but I’m open to continuing wherever I can.”
Alexander Satola is a senior in LSA and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.