A childhood hobby nurtured in a suburb of Paris turned into a professional aspiration when Matthieu Jean-Baptiste arrived in New York to attend NYIT. An athletics scholarship provided him an opportunity to live in a new place and play soccer, his sport since age 6.
"My first time in New York City, I went straight to Times Square," says Jean-Baptiste. "It was amazing in late evening. It was dark and all the lights made it seem like afternoon. I was looking everywhere because I didn't want to miss any details."
Jean-Baptiste is a defender on the NYIT men's soccer team, like his favorite player, the Brazilian Thiago Silva. He's enjoyed many team victories such as the 2011 East Coast Conference (ECC) Tournament Championship won by NYIT, his best experience on campus. Some 2012 highlights have included scoring twice in a Bears win over the University of D.C., scoring a game-tying goal in a match with St. Thomas Aquinas, and again playing in the ECC Tournament Championship (though NYIT lost to the Pioneers). Before games, he listens to classical music by Beethoven to clear his mind and better focus on the field.
Sports run in Jean-Baptiste's family. An uncle played professional soccer, and his father competed in semi-professional soccer leagues in Europe for nearly 20 years. His 17-year-old sister, Laetitia, competes in track and field. He even hopes to parlay his soccer know-how into a business partnership with his father.
"Before I came to NYIT, we talked about building an agency for soccer players from the West Indies, to help them break into soccer in the European leagues," says Jean-Baptiste, who foresees obtaining a license as a sports agent after he graduates. His parents, who emigrated to France from the West Indies, serve as his motivators.
"They're models of courage, perseverance, and respect," he says. "Who I am today is thanks to my parents."
He already serves as a marketing assistant for the NYIT Office of Communications and Marketing and as an assistant to NYIT's Professional Enrichment Program in the School of Management.
"These jobs allow me to meet interesting people and help me to gain maturity," he says.
Jean-Baptiste enjoys spending time with family and friends and playing video games. In summer 2013, he hopes to get noticed by a pro soccer team when he joins the USL Premier Development League, a semi-professional soccer league for athletes in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.
Jean-Baptiste adds, "It will be a great experience since this league recruits talented players from all over the country."
Member: Men's Soccer Postion: Defense
AS A JUNIOR IN 2011: Appeared in 17 games and started five … helped the Bears to the ECC Tournament Championship and a NCAA Regional appearance … played an integral role in NYIT’s 11 shutouts.
AT ECOLE DE MANAGEMENT LEONARDO DI VINCI: Played three seasons.
AT ECOLE DE MANAGEMENT LEONARDO DI VINCI: Played three seasons ... winner of the University French Cup in 2009 ... won the State Cup in 2006-2008 with his club team.
AT LYCEE NEWTON ENREA HS: Played soccer as a center back.
PERSONAL: Son of Chantal and Pierre ... enjoys playing video games and spending time with friend and family … majoring in business administration with a minor in management.