NY soccer scholar deploys to Iraq

2 Sep 2005 | Sgt. Stephen D'Alessio 2nd Marine Division

Arguimides Vasquez thought soccer would take him places, but never to Iraq. In his hometown of Central Islip, N.Y., the soccer defensive player recently chose a course of extreme challenges over a college education. Either would have shaped his future forever, but the Corps taught him about service.Lance Cpl. Vasquez, a 20-year-old personnel clerk with the 2nd Marine Division headquarters passed on several full ride soccer scholarships. It wasn’t that he lost his passion for the sport. Instead he followed eagerness to support his country during this time of war.He spent his most recent birthday standing sentry duty on a post in the arid climes of Iraq’s Al Anbar province. He could have been partying in a college dorm room or blowing out birthday candles with his family. But it was a sacrifice, he said, that will be well worth the wait for college.“One day a recruiter saw me playing at one of my games with the Marauders,” said Vasquez, a 2003 graduate of Bay Shore High School. “Afterward we talked and I realized that it was the challenge I was looking for.”Before he joined, his friends would go out to dance clubs and party all night. Vasquez chose to stay home and practice his game. It all panned out when he received his scholarships to St. Johns University in New York and the University of West Virginia. But despite the prestige of those awards, he wanted the kind of pride only the Marine Corps could foster. Since then, he has been the connection for Marines and sailors within the division who are returning home after their deployments or going on rest and relaxation leave. All paperwork dealing with those and other types of travel out of the country goes through him for a detailed accountability and thorough editing process before it is routed to his officers. Attention to detail is something he learned in the Corps, but crunching numbers and accounting is something that he’s always had a passion for. “It’s a never ending job,” said Vasquez. “I don’t know; I just like numbers. It’s probably because I like getting a problem that someone can’t figure out and tackling it. It gives me a good sense of accomplishment.” Vasquez plans to pursue a degree in accounting and business administration when he finishes his tour of duty. He hopes the Marines will be a good stepping stone for his business. And the education benefits will help him through college. But before then, he has other business to attend to in the Marines. “When I return to the States, I want to try out for the All-Marine Soccer Team,” said Vasquez. “I need to do that as soon as I get back because I’ve been out of the game for awhile after I twisted my leg while I was playing.“But that shouldn’t be a problem, he added. I have a goal to be on the All-Marine Team. It’s going to be tough, but I never wanted anything given to me – I’ve always earned it.”