SDSU soccer star handles stress with hard work

The physical and mental demands of the Division I soccer season are grueling. The stress of a uniquely challenging university-level course load can be even tougher. And although former La Costa Canyon three-sport athlete Adam Allmaras is doing what he can to balance these demands, he admits that during some of the tough long runs in practices, keeping up with his teammates sometimes feels like it’s just too much.

“There are times when I’m like, ‘I don’t even know if I can do this,’ but I just pull it out every semester,” he said.

Allmaras’ track record suggests he’s managing this delicate balancing act just fine.

A star athletically and academically at LCC, he is now making his mark in both departments at San Diego State.

He enjoyed a breakout year this season as the Aztecs’ starting goalie, ranking near the top of nearly all major statistical categories in the Pac-12 Conference as a redshirt freshman.

Allmaras ranked tied for third in saves with 62. He ranked fifth in goals against average (1.46), fourth in shutouts with four, and sixth in save percentage (.689).

And to say he hasn’t missed a beat in the classroom would be an understatement.

Allmaras last month was named to the Pac-12 All-Academic first team. He was among five San Diego State teammates to receive all-conference academic honors.

That he has achieved academic success is especially impressive, considering his challenging academic program. He started at San Diego State majoring in construction engineering and has switched his major to mechanical engineering with an emphasis in biology.

Not your typical jock major.

“Most of the science classes are tough, because they require a lot of reading and memorization, but I like that kind of stuff,” Allmaras said. “It’s really interesting learning about (science), so I get a little bit of a reward out of it.”

He believes the work ethic instilled in him by his parents has enabled him to push on against challenges that many others shy away from.

“My mom (Amy Allmaras) never let us take the easy way out of things,” Allmaras said. “She always made us learn from our mistakes. She made us take ‘the hard way out.’”

Allmaras has gravitated towards the “hard way out” since his sophomore year at LCC, when he played three sports during one school year while enrolled in an advanced placement program.

He was playing soccer and baseball year-round (high school and club) when he decided to join the football team as a place kicker. He gave up baseball after his sophomore year but eventually graduated with nine varsity letters (four in soccer, three in football and two in baseball).

“It made me learn time management,” Allmaras said of his experience at LCC. “That helped me a lot going into college.”

An already difficult sophomore year got more challenging when Allmaras suffered a torn meniscus injury.

Among his career highlights at LCC was his junior soccer season, when he helped lead the Mavericks to their first San Diego Section title in at least a half-dozen years after being pressed into the starting goalie job as a result of a teammate’s injury.

He helped lead the Mavericks to another title his senior year. “Winning two in a row, hopefully we’re legends,” he said jokingly.

Allmaras walked on to San Diego State as a freshman last season with the understanding that he’d have a place on the team, but he never expected to be starting within a year.

“I was expecting to be a backup,” he said.

But when the Aztecs’ projected starter suffered a season-ending ACL injury, Allmaras found himself in the mix for a position he eventually won.

He believes the meniscus injury he had in high school made him appreciate his health, something he said he’d always taken for granted. The grueling rehab he had to do to return to the field made him appreciate it that much more.

“That was the first time I really had to work at sports to get back into it and get healthy and get my job back,” he said.

“Ever since then, it’s been this hard work ethic that got me this job.”

Allmaras appears to be determined to keep it.

“I’ve always been the type of player who plays up to the competition,” he said when asked what makes him the player he is.

“Working hard is the best thing you can do. I tell everybody that.”

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