May 5, 2008
Editors Note: This is the third in a series of feature stories on the student-athletes, coaches and teams who make up the fabric of the Cal State Northridge Athletic Department.
The Even-Keeled Kevin Guppy
By Chris Podbielski, Media Relations Intern
Northridge, Calif. - Kevin Guppy played basketball, football, soccer and the drums. He's athletically, musically and socially minded, pursuing a degree in Sociology with a focus on Criminal Justice, and considering a possible future in firefighting. One might think this particular California State University, Northridge soccer goalie shows a lack of focus...but one would be wrong.
Head Coach Terry Davila, head coach of the Matador men's soccer program remembers a tough match against a rival school in which Guppy showed tremendous poise, especially for a freshman. He describes the 2005 game in which the opposing fans packed in five feet behind Guppy's cage, screaming obscenities and insults throughout 90 minutes of play.
"Kevin was playing in a big game against a rival school and in a very hostile environment," remembers Davila. "And the other team's fans knew his grandmother's name, and they knew his girlfriend's name and his mother's name, and they went after him and they were saying things that you wouldn't even hear in an R-rated movie. And he handled himself extremely well."
Indeed, Guppy played impressively in that season-ending match against that team that shall not be named. He saved three goals during regular play, finally allowing one (resulting from a turnover) in sudden-death overtime. His concentration proved amazing under such circumstances.
"Most people probably would have flipped out," said Davila. "But Kevin was able to maintain himself and showed me what a tough-minded human being he really is and I gained a lot of respect for him after that."
The net minder excels in the classroom as well as on the pitch. Guppy won All-Big West Academic honors this year with a grade point average of 3.63. The junior with 62 saves last season and a school record-breaking 9 ½ shutouts in 2005, has a future as diverse and personally fulfilling as his hobbies. Coach Davila chalks Guppy's many successes up to his upbringing. The goalie's parents and grandparents attend every game and offer invaluable support, guidance and role models. Guppy agrees with Davila's assessment.
"I'm a family oriented guy and I most admire my grandfather who was a firefighter for 37 years," the goalkeeper explains. "If professional soccer doesn't work out, that's the route I'd like to take. Firefighting is just a way for me to give back to the community."
But who can say if professional soccer won't work out for this achievement-minded student athlete? The firmly-grounded Guppy once went an impressive 457 minutes without allowing a single goal during his play between the pipes. During the Matador off season, the student athlete minds the net for the San Fernando Quakes in an effort to stay focused and keep in shape.
"He's going to have a great life," Davila predicts. "I can see him being a professional goal keeper or a firefighter, even a fire chief--he has those kinds of leadership qualities."
And leadership is not just something learned--though he will do more of that at the NCAA Leadership Conference this month, one of two students from CSUN invited to the event. For Guppy, leadership also needs to be shared. Whether it's working with the athletic advisory council on campus, or holding a steady backbeat so others can follow along, the Matador junior focuses on other goals besides the pitch-related ones.
"Just giving back, realizing the reality of the fact that other people and other walks of life don't always have the opportunities necessary--the ones that don't have the things I have. Helping those people and giving back to the community is what I find most rewarding."