UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | April 17, 2024

Austin Wallace earns two postseason awards

No. 34, Austin Wallace, a freshman general studies major from Lehi, played on the field during the Sept. 14 game against CSU Bakersfield. Joining the team as a freshman, Wallace is making his mark on the men’s soccer team, becoming the leading scorer for the 2023 team. Miki Akiyama | Sun News Daily

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By Serina Sharbo

The Utah Tech University men’s soccer team ended the season with an even 9-9 record. They have shown improvement over the past seasons and achieved many firsts in the program. These accomplishments weren’t by accident. Of the 36 men on the roster, one freshman stood out. 

Austin Wallace, a freshman general studies major from Lehi, made a name for himself during his first collegiate soccer season. He ended the season with a total of 882 minutes on the field and became the team’s leading scorer with five goals.  

Among these goals, two came from his first game against Lindenwood University. Another goal was a game-winning point in the first game of the Western Athletic Conference tournament, giving his team the chance to play in the semifinals. His performances did not go unnoticed, earning him a spot on the WAC All-Freshman team.  

Wallace’s love for soccer began as a toddler, even before he could articulate his fascination with it.  

“My mom always told me that as soon as I could start walking, I was kicking a ball around,” Wallace said. “I was always into sports but soccer kind of called my name.” 

Despite starting as a goalkeeper in his youth, the transition to the larger field led him to discover his love for playing forward and fueled the development of his speed. By high school, the dream of playing collegiate soccer became a reality, and he was noticed by head Utah Tech men’s soccer coach Jonny Broadhead in his junior year.  

He committed to Utah Tech the following year before taking off on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where he served in Mozambique. Upon returning, Wallace tackled the challenge of regaining his skills and adapting to the collegiate level.  

“There have been very few [people] that have been able to come home and jump right in like he did,” Broadhead said. “It’s really remarkable what he just accomplished…He handled it like a boss.” 

Wallace spent his free time training and putting in extra hours when he could. His determination eventually paid off, and he earned him a spot on the team. 

Wallace said: “For me, it took a lot of hard work. Adjusting to college life and the workload…and to still excel and get better is really hard. Hard work, I think, is the key.” 

Reflecting on his overall performance, he acknowledged that he could have scored more goals but still felt he had a good season, and this modest attitude did not go unnoticed.  

 “He is extremely humble,” Broadhead said. “He scored his first college goal, and his reaction was to turn around and quiet his team by saying ‘We’re not done.’ Like this was just a small thing and this is nothing to celebrate because we haven’t won the game yet.” 

He credits his success to the support of his old club coach and his father as they both played pivotal roles in his soccer journey. Additionally, he attributes his talent to God and shares that He is the key to his success. 

“I believe that I have been given the talent from my Heavenly Father to be able to play,” Wallace said. “I always say a prayer of gratitude in the circle when we take a moment.”

As for the prospect of a professional career, Wallace remains open but thinks life may lead him in a different direction. He is currently exploring his options but ultimately hopes to attend dental school. Regardless of the path ahead, he is thankful for his family’s support and the opportunities he has had thus far. 

“Congrats to him,” said teammate Jimi Villasenor, a fifth-year marketing major from Las Vegas. “Austin knows I am going to miss him, but if I can give him some last advice, it would be super cheesy, but just to cherish every moment…it goes by so fast.” 

Broadhead also had a message for Wallace: “Enjoy this. You deserve it. We are really proud of you, and our team can’t wait to keep working with you.”