Denis Martinez helped the UMass Boston men’s soccer team to Little East Conference tournament championships as a freshman and sophomore. The Chelsea High grad is now a junior captain of a squad looking for another title and the spot in the NCAA Division 3 tournament that comes with it. A 5-foot-7, 165-pound midfielder Martinez was named second-team All-Little East. Last season, he and the defense posted 10 shutouts in 23 games on the way to an 18-2-3 overall record. Martinez injured his knee in last year’s Little East championship game win over Rhode Island College and he was able to play only six minutes in the team’s three NCAA tournament games. He is the proud father of Emma, 1.
Q. When did you start playing soccer?
A. Around the age of eight, but I was always around soccer since my dad [Mauricio] played in men’s leagues. The whole family was on the same team back then and they played all around Chelsea and Revere.
Q. What’s your best soccer memory so far at UMass Boston?
A. The two conference championships we’ve won. Both went to overtime and were tight games. I think the first one was the most exciting. It was the first one and I didn’t know what to expect in my first year in college, so it was great.
Q. What was it like having to watch the NCAA games from the sidelines last year with your injury?
A. It was frustrating. It was more nerve-wracking on the bench than in the game, just not being able to play and knowing I could be out there, but I’m not.
Q. How would you describe your role as a midfielder?
A. To win the ball back when they have it and when we have it to keep the tempo how we want to play. Our tempo depends on how the game is going and if we want to attack. Or, if we want to slow the game down, it’s up to us in the middle.
Q. How does working and having a young daughter effect how you go about your school day and your approach to soccer?
A. It gives me less time for everything, but I make it work. She pushes me to work hard in school and in games and coming home to a smiling face is amazing.
Q. What’s been the team’s best game so far this year?
A. I think it was Plymouth State (a 3-0 win on Sept 23). They’re a good team and we actually finished, which we’ve been having a tough time doing.
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