San Diego State senior defender Daniel Steres has enjoyed an impressive four-year career at SDSU, filled with numerous accolades and honors.
From being selected as the 2008 Most Valuable Defensive Player at the Courtyard Marriott San Diego Central Tournament as a freshman to being named to the All-Pacific-10 Conference second team last season.
It seems Steres should be satisfied with all he has accomplished, but he is not.
One goal has eluded him every year: a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
“I want to get to the tournament,” Steres said. “I’ve been here four years; I have not played a game in the tournament yet. I want to get in that tournament first and see how far we go. That’s my biggest thing before anything else.”
If the Aztecs hope to make it to the coveted NCAA Tournament, they will have to lean on the leadership and stability Steres brings.
“Steres is a rock in back, not just by his talents and abilities, but because he sees the game very well,” SDSU head coach Lev Kirshner said. “His leadership is phenomenal. He really knows how to pull the best out of his players. He is a very integral part of this team’s success.”
This is Steres’ second season as team captain. Last year, he became the first junior captain since Raul Bautista in 2005.
“I took it as the respect the team has for me,” Steres said about being selected as a captain his junior year. “I wear it with pride. I really enjoy the fact I get to lead this team, I was honored.”
Steres described his leadership style as “lead by example,” though not everyone would agree.
Coaches and teammates have said they believe he is more vocal than he gives himself credit for.
They have also noticed the difference in leadership style from last year to this year.
“Steres has always been a great player and leader since we have been teammates,” redshirt junior midfielder Chance Marden said. “I’ve noticed he has definitely grown as a vocal leader.”
The last time SDSU was a participant in the NCAA Tournament was in 2006 when the Aztecs lost 2-1 in the first round to University of California, Santa Barbara, the eventual NCAA champions.
A trip to this year’s NCAA Tournament would be the ninth in SDSU history, and the final piece to complete Steres’ career as an Aztec.