Alec Lam discusses soccer and community involvement

Junior goalkeeper Alec Lam is a critical part of the men’s soccer team. (credit: Courtesy of CMU Athletics) Junior goalkeeper Alec Lam is a critical part of the men’s soccer team. (credit: Courtesy of CMU Athletics)

Life is just like a game of soccer — or at least according to junior goalkeeper Alec Lam it is. Soccer has been a crucial part of Lam’s life from preschool to college. The opportunities he’s found through the sport have allowed him to experience personal growth and help others.

Lam, who was recruited by the Carnegie Mellon Soccer team in 2015, began playing at only three years old. Originally Lam played with the Pee Wee children’s team to meet new people; however, after steady improvement he joined the TSF Academy team. Before entering high school, Lam became part of the Olympic Development Program and by the end of it he had won a state championship with his high school team.

“In the start it was just a way for me to get out and be around people, but what kept me in soccer was the team atmosphere and being able to be part of something larger than yourself, even though it’s just a sport. It’s a really nice feeling to come together as a whole and achieve something,” said Lam.

The first two years of Lam’s college soccer career were great, but this fall marked a new chance for Lam and his fellow players to further indulge in their sport. After competing in the national tournament the past two years, Lam says the team is eager to place first in the national championship.
“After each year we’ve felt like something was missing and each one of us believes that we don’t have to be at a traditionally good soccer power-house school to win a championship. We all came here to win and our goal is to turn into that winning team,” said Lam.

Previously, Carnegie Mellon and the Intramural League for Carnegie Mellon have recognized Lam as an outstanding athlete, with Carnegie Mellon naming him the Carnegie Mellon Student Athlete of the Week for the week of Sept. 4–10 and the League naming him as the League Athlete of the Week three times.

“What really drew me to [Carnegie Mellon University] was the academics, of course, but to… really be a part of something larger than myself on campus and work towards a common goal with a bunch of other talented and smart guys.”

Since coming to Carnegie Mellon, Lam branched out from just playing soccer to donating time with teams around the school. One of the Lam’s primary volunteer activities is the Special Olympics, an event which allows those with intellectual disabilities to compete in various athletic competitions.

“The event was originally hosted by CMU Athletics, but now it’s really starting to span out and as it’s getting bigger we’re taking on different organizations. Anyone who wants to get involved can get involved,” said Lam.

When not playing soccer Lam studies as an Information Systems student and worked with associate teaching professor of computer science David Kosbie to develop software that teaches high school level computer science curriculum. He also mentored underclassmen students in Dietrich through the Dietrich College Peer Mentor program.

Whatever the opportunity, Lam remembers his roots and what playing has taught him.

“We face adversity all the time, there are times you’re feeling really good and then it can just all come down. There are times you need to rely on people. I see the parallels between playing the game and living life everyday,” said Lam.