Athlete of the Week: Ben Lau ’22

Ben Lau is a sophomore from Los Altos, California considering a major in biochemistry or neuroscience. He is a center-back on the Swarthmore men’s soccer team, who had two solid results over the span of fall break. Lau helped keep #7 Johns Hopkins at bay in the Garnet’s 2-2 draw on Saturday, October 12. Lau then led a back line that stifled McDaniel in a 1-0 Swarthmore victory last Saturday in which he scored the winner. 

Joe Barile: How did you get recruited to Swarthmore and end up choosing the school?

Ben Lau: My club coach grew up playing with the assistant coach here, so when I expressed an interest in the program, my coach helped set up the connection. I attended the Elite 300 ID camp during the summer before my senior year, came for an official visit in the fall, then committed a week after that. I was looking at academically rigorous liberal arts colleges where I could also continue my soccer career. On my visit, I was really impressed with the overall intimacy of the school. The classes I attended were small and professors knew the students well. The team was like a family, and I really wanted to be part of a really tightly-knit team. 

JB: On Saturday, the team got its 3rd shutout of the year. What was the defense able to do well against McDaniel? 

BL: Our backline has been very solid all season, but a few mistakes every game have cost us many shutouts. On Saturday, we were able to keep the number of mistakes and unnecessary fouls to a minimum, and through constant communication we kept McDaniel from having many good chances. I’m really proud of my defensive partners.

JB: Scoring goals on set pieces has become a specialty of yours. What do you think makes you such an asset on set pieces? 

BL: I’m really fortunate to be one of the taller players on the field, which puts the advantage in my favor when it comes to set pieces. In the off-season, our team put a lot of work into sharpening up our set piece performance. The service has been a lot better this season, and we’ve been able to generate scoring chances and a few goals every game from set pieces alone.

JB:  How do you feel the men’s soccer team this year shapes up to the team last year? 

BL: The team this season is very strong. We’ve been playing some great football and competing against and outplaying nationally ranked teams. Last year we ended our season with a 9-7-1 record, and with three games left, we are 9-2-2. I think we’re a much stronger team and am very proud of how much we’ve developed in the past year. I’m really excited to see what the future holds for this team.

JB:. What does the team need to do in order to make a playoff push? 

BL: I try not to get caught up in the statistics, so the simplest answer is we need to win out the last three conference games. I think as long as we are able to impose our game against our opponents, avoid unnecessary errors and fouls, and compete, we will have a good chance at making playoffs.

JB:  If you had to give yourself a player comparison with one professional player, who would it be?

BL: Though I despise Real Madrid, the closest comparison I can make for myself is to Raphael Varane. He plays next to Sergio Ramos, who is quite similar to my center back partner, Harry Nevins [’22]. We make a great duo.

Joseph Barile

Joe '21 is from River Vale, NJ. Besides writing for the sports section of the Phoenix, he plays on the Swarthmore Men’s Soccer team and works in admissions as a tour guide.

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