Robertson-Lavalle paves own way to team membership

by Mark Cui | 3/31/16 5:06pm

On the soccer team’s team photo posted on the Dartmouth website, one notable member is missing: Marcos Robertson-Lavalle ’17, the team manager. Working behind the scenes, Robertson-Lavalle plays an instrumental role in preparing the team and contributing to its overall success.

Robertson-Lavalle has always loved the sport, but after a high school soccer injury, he shifted his focus to tennis. Despite the unexpected change in sports, he remained a team manager of his high school soccer team.

“I ended up deciding tennis because I played more competitively in tennis and had a better chance of making the team,” Robertson-Lavalle said. “I kind of gave up playing soccer, but all my friends were on the soccer team, so that’s actually how I became manager for the first time.”

Through his high school coach, Robertson-Lavalle was able to get in contact with the soccer coaches at Dartmouth and naturally transitioned to become the Dartmouth men’s soccer team’s manager immediately as a freshman. While Robertson-Lavalle does not practice with the team, he is present at every game and sometimes runs with the rest of the team during practice. The day-to-day stuff, such as picking up cones, are not part of Robertson-Lavalle’s role. His responsibilities as team manager have gradually increased over time, and his role largely consists of calculating logistics and preparing the little things to ensure the team’s success.

Brendan Barth ’17, a member of the team, has known Robertson-Lavalle for three years. He said that Robertson-Lavalle often does more than expected of him, including ordering food for the team while they are traveling.

Head coach Chad Riley also detailed the importance of Robertson-Lavalle’s role outside of the outlined duties.

“He is such a great teammate and team player that he really adds a lot to our team outside of his outlined duties with us,” Riley said. “He loves soccer, loves his team and will really do anything to help anyone on the team. It has also been enjoyable for the coaches to have a Dartmouth student in the office regularly with us that really becomes part of our staff.”

The team also appreciates Robertson-Lavalle’s time-consuming role as manager.

“I’m always astounded by how often in the office he’s working,” Barth said. “He’s given a lot up to be a part of something bigger than himself. He’s not necessarily playing any games, or getting his name in the headlights, but he’s doing a lot to contribute to our success and that’s very beneficial to the team.”

While Robertson-Lavalle himself admits that the schedule in the fall can very demanding at times, the soccer team is generally flexible about his role. At the beginning of each term, Robertson-Lavalle sits down with the coaching staff to set goals for the term to find a good balance that allows both Robertson-Lavalle and the coaches to get what they need.

“The coaches understand that you’re a student first,” he said. “My hours are very flexible. They change every term based on my classes and my availability.”

Robertson-Lavalle’s favorite aspect about his job as manager is the team experience, with his most memorable memory being formed with the team in Seattle.

“It’s very cool to have the team experience,” Robertson-Lavalle said. “It’s almost like I’m an extension to the team in a lot of ways, which I really appreciate. I wouldn’t be on a varsity team playing-wise, but I at least do get the team experience [and] get to travel.”

Robertson-Lavalle personality and interests have made it easy for him to fit in with the team. Barth described Robertson-Lavalle as “always smiley and charismatic,” whose love for the game is obvious.

Not only has the experience as manager been incredibly rewarding and fun, but it has also helped develop Robertson-Lavalle’s time management skills.

“There’s a lot of logistics going on behind the scenes that not everyone sees but that are needed to get everything working,” he said. “Sometimes a one-and-a-half-hour meeting quickly turns into three hours by the time you break out. So I’ve learned to just plan ahead.”

Riley added that Robertson-Lavalle has also “grown in confidence in his role with [the team].”

While Robertson-Lavalle is still a junior, the team has begun the process of recruiting an underclassman to serve as a manager alongside Robertson-Lavalle. In the future, the manager role may be allocated to two people instead of just one.

“I could be a mentor, and they would also be a team manager,” Robertson-Lavalle said. “Games I couldn’t go to, they could go to. Eventually this could fall into a role for two different people two years apart working together. After two years, you would have a senior, and they would take on more and more responsibilities.”

In addition to his role as a manager of the soccer team, Robertson-Lavalle also has many other interests. Academically, he is a double major in economics and Portuguese. He also loves to travel, having spent two summers in Brazil, one as an internship and one as a study abroad. He is also involved in other activities, including his church group and yoga off campus. Languages are also a very active part of his life, as he fluently speaks Spanish, Portuguese and English.