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Oct. 30, 2012
By Ryan Mellon, Special to GoPSUsports.com from the College of Communications
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State goalkeeper Emmanuel Martin is 3,849 miles away from home in Cormontreuil, France.
But he is right at home keeping opposing teams from scoring no matter where the goal is located.
Martin, 23, came to America in August of 2011 to join Penn State's men's soccer team.
Before making the trip to America, Martin gained significant experience playing in France for Stade de Reims at the U-16 and U-18 levels. Stade de Reims is one of 128 clubs in the Championnat de France Amateur 2, or CFA 2. The club is known for being one of the most successful clubs in France, owning six titles in their league.
Martin said playing 60 games in the CFA 2 prepared him in a more technical and tactical sense of play.
"The French education for goalkeeper is a good one," Martin said. "I bring some good technical skill and it helps me on the field to play my game."
Martin said the style of play between France and the Big Ten is slightly different, citing more tactical play in France and more physical play in the conference.
Martin's role on the team at Penn State extends beyond just keeping the ball out of the net. Assistant coach Bo Oshoniyi, who works primarily with the goalkeepers on the team, said Martin brought leadership with him.
"Manny played at a high level over in France, so I think he was a natural leader when he came in to Penn State," Oshoniyi said.
"I definitely think he has helped some of the younger guys deal with the everyday life of college soccer and the grind that it can be with the academics."
Oshoniyi brings some leadership of his own to the Penn State coaching staff having won all-America goalkeeper honors twice at Southern Connecticut State University and playing with the Columbus Crew and Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer.
For Martin, who hopes to go to the MLS one day, Oshoniyi's experience can certainly be very helpful.
After gaining experience in the Premier Development League this summer with the Reading Union, that plan could become a reality.
"I think he could have an opportunity," Oshoniyi said. "If he did get that opportunity, he would run with it and make the most of it."
While Martin's American soccer experience is not over yet, he is certainly glad the opportunity was given.
"I can tell you right now I'm really thankful to be in the United States and to be at Penn State for the great education," Martin said.
"I like playing with these guys and the coaches and the environment is really good. I'm really thankful for that."