Steadily improving with each passing season, the Linfield men's soccer program is on the rise and goalkeeper Grant Loriaux has been there to see it all.
As a freshman in 2011, Loriaux watched as his team won just two matches. A 7-11 record last season showed modest gains for the program. The junior from Newberg is a contributing member of this year's club, which has a chance to finish above .500 for the first time since 2007.
“It has been a good year,” Loriaux says. “We have a lot of freshman this year. It's provided a clear vision of where the team is going in the future.”
It hasn't all been perfect. Since the age of 12, Loriaux has been living with Type 1 diabetes, a rare affliction for someone so young and active. Individuals diagnosed with this form of the disease, previously known as juvenile diabetes, produce little or no insulin, an important hormone that helps cells convert glucose (sugar) into energy.
“The biggest thing with diabetes and soccer is just standardizing your day,” Loriaux says. “You have to make sure your blood sugar is at the right level, which means I have to eat about four times a day so I can manage my blood sugar.”
With overnight stays and longer road trips, Loriaux says making sure he eats properly and at the right times has been a large adjustment from his days of playing soccer at West Linn High School.
“It's okay now,” Loriaux says. “Freshman year was definitely a learning process though.”
Loriaux says he has never had any problems with his diabetes and playing soccer. He attributes this to his experience dealing with and knowledge about the condition. In 2007, Loriaux had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., and speak to Congress about diabetes research.
“I went to D.C. and met up with a bunch of diabetics from throughout the United States,” Loriaux says. “We got together, went to Congress and talked to our senators. Then we went to the Senate floor and talked about stem cell research.”
With diabetes management firmly under control, Loriaux started 10 games as a sophomore in 2012, ranking fifth in the Northwest Conference with 49 saves while registering the third-highest save percentage at .803.
“Grant is athletic,” says head coach Chuck Bechtol. “He's been around long enough and has a grasp of what to do on the field.”
Away from soccer and in the classroom, Loriaux is a political science major. The quality of the Political Science department was one of the reasons why the junior decided to attend Linfield.
In his free time, Loriaux is a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, along with many of his teammates.
“He's a really relaxed guy off the field,” says defender and fraternity member Emerson North. “He's easy to talk with, plays golf and donates time to the community.”
Golf is more than a pastime for Loriaux. In addition to competing in collegiate soccer, he is also a member of Linfield's men's golf team, competing during the spring season only. Loriaux joined the program as a sophomore and plans to continue playing.
On the field, North says Loriaux is a great communicator, giving him a strong presence in the goal, where he is able to see the entire field of play.
“Grant has a great sense of humor,” says Bechtol. “He's funny, a great guy. Off the field he's always chatting and is friends with everyone.”
This fall has unfolded differently for Loriaux. Despite his success the previous season, he has had to prove his worth every day in practice in order to earn the starting nod at one of the most critical positions on the field. He has participated in 10 matches, starting five of those contests. As a starter, Loriaux has a 2-2-1 record, highlighted by a 1-0 shutout against Willamette that earned him the Northwest Conference Men's Soccer Defensive Student-Athlete of the Week award for the week of Oct. 7-13.
With the Linfield soccer season winding down, Loriaux continues to be a vital communicator for his teammates, whether it's on the sidelines or guarding the goal.
-- Chris Haddeland '15