Senior Midfielder Jonathan Junca will be playing Cougar soccer for the last time tonight on South Field. After four years at BYU, he will hang up the Cougar cleats and walk off the field with his life ahead of him. Thanks to the influence of his dad, he started playing soccer at a very young age in Northville, Michigan. It was there that his dad taught him the fundamentals of soccer, including the ability to perfect the "meg". Always a sight to enjoy, the "meg" in a nutshell is when a player maneuvers the ball between the opponent's legs in order to pass or shoot.
Although he calls Northville home, he does have Uruguayan blood that gives him a tie to the great Luis Suarez. Jonathan started off at BYU in 2008 where he played in 10 games and racked up 543 minutes for the season. Junca took a two year break as he served an LDS mission in Viña del Mar, Chile before rejoining the Cougars in 2011. While 2011 ended with him only playing 5 games, 2012 made up for it as he played in 16 games recorded two assists and seven shots. Jonathan continued to improve his game and took a larger role on offense in 2013 as he took 13 shots while scoring two goals and recording an assist in 13 games. This year he has continued to play team ball and in 12 games he has recorded another assist.
Junca had cousins that attended BYU and so when he attended a soccer camp before his senior year, and Coach Watkins offered him a spot on the team, he readily accepted. Playing four years of soccer at BYU has provided him a number of memorable games, but the chance to play against Real Salt Lake is at the top of the list for him. Like many teams, the players that travel together become family and road trips don't seem as taxing when they get to enjoy talent shows in places like Fiji, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico.
Even with all the wonderful memories, they may not compare to the recent text the team received from his coach informing them that they had made the playoffs. After years of dreaming of the playoffs, it has finally become a reality. With the frustration that he has had with not making the playoffs, the first playoff game this year will be a truly amazing experience for Junca and his teammates.
When the season ends, he will head north to Salt Lake to work for Indus Valley Partners as a business analyst after receiving a degree in Finance. At this point he plans on continuing to play in a men's league in Salt Lake and hopes to become a high school teacher and soccer coach when he retires.
For BYU Soccer fans everywhere we thank you for the blood, sweat, and tears that you have provided in order to help take the BYU program to where it is at today. We will miss seeing you on the field, but know that the program is better for having you in it. Good luck with all your future opportunities.