Colby Bauer thought he was done for. The standout midfielder searched frantically for his passport, fearing that he would be stuck in Puerto Rico after a tournament with the BYU men’s soccer team. What Bauer didn’t know was that his snickering teammates were hiding the passport that he had absentmindedly left on the team bus.
“Colby is really good at forgetting things, and he doesn’t realize it,” teammate Sterling Hancock said. “It’s really funny because it’s so atypical of what he’s like on the field.”
While Bauer may be prone to leaving behind cleats and cell phones, he is also leaving his mark on the BYU soccer program as he prepares to pursue his dream of playing professional soccer.
“Colby is the engine of our team,” head coach Chris Watkins said. “He is probably our best overall athlete as well, as far as how well he competes, his speed, his size. The power that he carries with himself is amazing — better than any player we’ve had. … He’s on track to be one of our all-time great players.”
Bauer’s stellar sophomore season helped power the team to its highest point total since moving to the Premier Development League in 2003. The Mesa, Ariz., native netted three goals while directing the squad’s defensive efforts as the Cougars finished the 2012 season with a record of 10-8-5.
“This season, I feel like I have improved quite a bit, but more so in the sense of organization and leadership,” Bauer said. “I think that has really affected my game.”
Bauer said his polished demeanor is the product of difficult trials he faced as a youth. Substance abuse affected his parents’ marriage, and the couple divorced while Bauer was in high school.
“That was kind of a deciding moment, you know, like a huge point where I could have went one way or the other,” Bauer said. “I know that it has affected me in my whole personality and character.”
Bauer said, although family problems continue to influence his life, faith has helped him overcome challenges.
“The gospel as a whole has kept me on track,” Bauer said.
Bauer’s commitment to the gospel is attracting almost as much attention as his soccer prowess. Robin Fraser, current head coach of Major League Soccer club Chivas USA, coached Bauer’s youth soccer teams in Phoenix. When asked about his former player, Fraser immediately mentioned Bauer’s character.
“Colby is a kid that is full of integrity, first and foremost,” Fraser said. “He is the kind of kid I think everyone would like to coach.”
(Photo courtesy of BYU soccer)
As BYU’s soccer season comes to a close, Bauer is setting his sights on a new goal — playing professional soccer. He will spend the rest of the summer in Los Angeles training with Fraser and Chivas USA. Bauer, a business management major, will return to BYU in the fall before working out in several league combines in preparation for January’s draft.
Although he hasn’t necessarily ruled out a return to BYU for his junior season Bauer smiled when asked for a prediction of whether he will return next season.
“Probably not,” he said. “Let’s cross our fingers.”