Juan Vega, a University of Houston-Victoria senior business major from Houston, has maintained a can-do attitude as a student and an athlete.
Vega, 23, believes this positive outlook will lead to a successful youth soccer coaching and marketing career with the Houston Dynamo. Set to graduate in December, Vega plans to stick with his passion.
“I work with the youth soccer program for their camps for kids 12 and under,” he said. “I started coaching because I love soccer. I’ve done it my whole life. I thought why not teach the next generation so they can have fun doing it, too?”
Vega also wants to become involved with the professional soccer team’s marketing.
“Houston is not a big soccer city,” he said. “I want to work with the team’s image, its history and what it stands for. I want to bring people the Dynamo experience and make Houston a soccer city.”
Vega played center midfielder for the UHV soccer team for four seasons.
“I began playing competitive soccer at age 9,” he said. “It was fun and challenging to be a student-athlete, going on the road and having homework. We played our conference final, and a few of us had to came back after that game and go to the lab because we had a test due at midnight. It’s a commitment you must have to soccer and to your classes and your degree.”
Vega said their coach, Adrian Rigby, challenged him and his teammates to maintain at least a good GPA.
“He wanted us to be successful,” Vega said. “Student athletes don’t have it easy. We have it harder.”
Vega came to know about UHV through the soccer recruitment process.
“The coaches sold me on the whole idea of small classes and that the soccer team is like a family,” he said. “Since I got there, I have loved it. The professors are super friendly.”
Vega said he did not know what to expect his freshman year.
“I didn’t know much about the place, but the whole feel of it is a small, close-knit university,” he said. “I’ve never felt like I struggled at UHV. The professors have always answered my questions. I was always successful because they helped me.”
Vega said the advice and instruction he received from his UHV professors has materialized during his internship with Victoria Insurance Group.
“I was so interested in what I was learning, that I kept researching it,” he said. “Most of what I learned in classes applied in the real world. My professors told me that it would.”
Vega, who chose marketing in order to have a motivating and creative career, found that to be true during his internship.
“I learned how to create marketing strategies,” he said. “I had to learn a lot. It was different and not what I expected. I had to challenge myself to learn new things, and I was learning and teaching them things as well.”
For his efforts at his internship, Vega won the 2016-2017 UHV Off-Campus Student Worker of the Year Award.
“It was really special to win,” he said. “I had always been recognized for soccer but never for my work or what I wanted to do as a career,” he said.
Vega thinks his education at UHV and his work experience have prepared him for a career in marketing.
“In marketing, we have to be creative and find ways to solve problems,” he said. “We have to think outside of the box. My time at UHV helped me find my own way and also look for help when I needed it.”
I am a Jaguar is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact Jeremy Shapiro, UHV communications manager, or call 361-570-4296.