American athletes are know for their proficiency in sports. But, when it comes to soccer, they usually play a minor role in comparison to the foreign born element.
This has been especially true at Penn State were foreign-born players have been instrumental in the winning success of the Lion booters.
This year is no exception. There are no less that four foreign-born athletes holding key positions on the Nittany eleven, including Per Torgeson, Penn State's second team all-America forward last fall. The others are junior letterman Mike Stollmeyer and sophomores Ihor Chyzowych and Louis VanRefelghem. All but VanRafelghem are now American citizens.
Torgeson, who now resides in Long Island, N.Y., originally hailed from Norway; Stollmeyer was born in Trinidad, British West Indies; Chyzowych was raised in the Ukraine and VanRafelghem is a native of Argentina.
Torgeson and Stollmeyer are holdovers from the 1956 soccer aggregation. As rookies last fall, they--along with the graduated Tommy Nute--tied for team scoring honors with 14 each.
Stollmeyer, however, hasn't seen any action this season because of an ankle injury but his three cohorts own first team berths. It is hoped that Stollmeyer will resume his outstanding play when he returns to the lineup.
The other three, meanwhile, have been very instrumental in the Lions' first three victories. Chyzonwych is second to Bill Fiedler in the scoring with five goals and Torgeson, a playmaker of note, has tallied three times. VanRafelghem, who missed one game because of an angle injury, garnered a goal in the Bucknell rout.
Coach Ken Hosterman, a keen judge of soccer talent, said of this foreign-born quartet:
"They are all good players, possessing a lot of skill and much finesse. They know the fundamentals better than most American kids and that's because they grew up with the game like out boys grow up playing baseball and football."