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NEWS | Sept. 11, 2017

Reserve Soldier Returns to Point Park University’s Military Appreciation Game

By Staff Sgt. Debra Richardson 354th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Tan combat boots contrasted sharply with green turf and white cleats as members of the Point Park men’s soccer team conducted stretching drills. Among those in attendance was Spc. Miguel Alvarez, who returned to watch his alma mater for the first time in five years.

“A lot has changed since college,” said Alvarez, watching intently as the soccer players finished stretching and began passing. “I grew up in D.C. and I wanted to attend college in a city. Pittsburgh was a fun new environment and Point Park University offered me an athletic scholarship so it was an easy choice.”

Alvarez, a midfielder, joined the Army Reserve after college and was assigned to the 354th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. “I chose to enlist as a photojournalist because it allows me to use my interpersonal skills. I’ve traveled to Poland, Germany, Colorado and California to tell the Army’s story. I thoroughly enjoy seeing new places and meeting new people.”

Most recently, traveling with the Army has reunited Alvarez with his Point Park University men’s head soccer coach, Jeroen Walstra, during a training exercise.

The exercise was designed to give broadcasters and photographers with the 354th MPAD the opportunity to hone and refine their skills. It was coincidental that the training overlapped with the Point Park University military appreciation game.

“It was great to get to see how the soccer program has evolved,” Alvarez said. “I enjoyed seeing my former coaches, and I know they were happy to see me and know I’m doing well.”

“The Army continues to offer me opportunities to travel and explore, and for that, I am grateful,” explained Alvarez. “Soccer taught me commitment and discipline for a team and the Army has allowed me to continue to develop that attitude and mindset.”