The man of the night for the West Virginia men’s soccer team on Saturday evening, Rodrigo Robles Grajera, has been one of the team’s many valuable players from the Iberian Peninsula.
Robles Grajera was recruited by WVU head coach Marlon LeBlanc when the Burgos, Spain, native was playing for Villareal C.F. under coach Miguel ángel Tena.
Since taking the field as a freshman this season, Robles Grajera has sent four goals to the back of the net: a pair in Saturday night’s victory over Penn, as well as a pair of goals in the team’s 5-1 victory over Coastal Carolina on Sept. 13.
Although only starting in four of West Virginia’s nine matches this season the Spain native holds the second spot on the team in goals scored, followed by Sevilla, Spain, native Andres Muriel Albino.
Before starting as the Mountaineers’ midfielder last season, Muriel Albino played his freshman and sophomore seasons for the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils. He started in 34 matches in his first two seasons while totaling eight goals and 21 points.
Last season, Muriel Albino found the back of the net six times, including a two-goal performance in a 3-2 victory over Bowling Green on Oct. 26. Through nine matches this season, the midfielder has registered just as many goals as last season.
“Andres is a special player,” Leblanc said. “I think what they’re doing is not just a facet of how we play, but also they’re both loaded with ability and skill.”
Another Mountaineer from overseas is Barcelona, Spain, native Pau Jimenez Albelda. The midfielder attended Escola Frederic Mistral-Tecnic Eulalia, where he was recruited by New Jersey Institute of Technology head coach Fernando Barboto.
Jimenez Albelda made an immediate impact while at NJIT, scoring three goals with 13 points as a freshman before notching three goals in 17 games played as a sophomore. In his sophomore season, he earned Atlantic Sun Conference All-Freshman team and All-Tournament team honors.
Jimenez Albelda then transferred to West Virginia prior to his junior season and has started in seven of the team’s matches.