How important is brotherhood in sports? Muhlenberg College soccer player, Zach Mikuta ‘24, can answer that question better than anyone. Mikuta is in his third year with the team. Ever since his first year, he has been a valuable player, contributing many meaningful minutes in several games. But this year brings changes for Mikuta, through the team and his everyday life. As a leader, he is trying to be more vocal. He is aware of the big shoes he has to fill, “I have to earn the team’s respect and talk when I feel I have earned it. Setting the example at practice by showing full intensity, full effort and doing that consistently.”
Another change in Mikuta’s life is having his younger brother, Trevor Mikuta ‘26, join him on the soccer team. Trevor’s arrival is a transition for Mikuta, and he admits it is a little weird. They did play in high school together, but they were younger and more immature and he feels that they are closer now after being away for college. When asked if he thought there was more responsibility on top of soccer because of his duty to take care of his brother, he responded by saying, “Absolutely, it is my job to show him the ropes and help him with the transition, and it is something I wish I had. I had older guys who helped me, and I want to help him like that. I also want to let him make his own mistakes.” He acknowledges that there is some difficulty in bridging the gap between letting his brother run free and being protective.
Now with these two new responsibilities, there is a question of this creating too much pressure in Mikuta’s life. When asked about the pressure to be more of a role model, not just for his brother but for the rest of the younger players on the team, Mikuta said, “I wouldn’t say there is pressure. You have to be a role model for yourself, and it will bleed towards the younger team. It is not an outward pressure but more of inner struggle, more of pressure from myself, but it is not bad pressure,” said Mikuta. This pressure helps motivate him and allows him to play not just for his real brother but for all of the brothers on the team and, in the end, makes them all closer. Mikuta is ready for this season and ready to take on the responsibility head-on, and he is excited for what is to come next year while perfecting the Mikuta chemistry.