Surkamp Leads Wolfpack to William & Mary
Sep 9, 2013
NC State travels to William & Mary on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Links for streaming coverage and live stats are available on the men's soccer schedule page of GoPack.com. Fans can also follow along with Twitter updates via @PackMensSoccer.
Redshirt junior Nick Surkamp contributed the game-winner in the Pack's 1-0 (OT) victory over Pitt last weekend. To preview this week's contest, GoPack.com contributer George Cox spoke with Surkamp, chronicling his journey from Longwood, through injury, and onto the pitch in Wolfpack red.
After a year of uncertainty concerning his future in collegiate soccer, Nick Surkamp is elated to be playing again. The Manassas, Virginia, native sat out the entire 2012 season because of a pre-season knee injury after playing for two years at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.
"It was the craziest thing," Surkamp said concerning his injury. "The knee injury was very unique and the doctors never could quite figure out what was wrong."
During that year, Surkamp had two surgeries and he was preparing to sign a release which would have ended his soccer career. "I was within a week and a half of signing the papers which would meant that I would never play again."
Suddenly, the knee started responding and Surkamp got his soccer life back. Surkamp believes he "overworked" the knee without giving it time to rest. Now he's looking forward to the season and believes the Pack's last two highly-rated recruiting classes will be paying huge dividends.
"I'm very excited," he said. "We may have the best starting 11 in the country and hope to compete for everything if we stay humble."
He figures UNC and Maryland will be main obstacles to the team's first goal - the ACC championship. "We'll compete if this group of guys can buy-in together. We are in the best soccer conference in the country."
In 2012 at Longwood, the 6-foot-1, 172-pound forward led the Lancers with 11 goals after scoring just one the previous season.
Surkamp says "confidence" was the catalyst which turned failure into success. The transition from Osbourn High School into the Longwood University environment was difficult. He noted that as a freshman, he wasn't comfortable with teammates he hardly knew. Being away from home, family and friends was also a new experience.
Helping Longwood to a record of 11-6-3 in 2011, Surkamp was voted player of the year in the Atlantic Soccer Conference, tallying 24 points, including two assists.
After leaving Longwood, Surkamp was looking far and wide as to where he would play Division I soccer. "I talked to many coaches and scheduled visits. NC State was only my second visit, but after talking to the coaches and their philosophy, there was no reason to visit any other schools. The coaches have a great system, a recruiting plan, a scheme to succeed."
One of the things which impressed Surkamp was a philosophy opposite many coaching systems: the upper classmen do most of the mundane duties - serving as models to the underclassmen.
"The leaders - the upperclassmen - pay the dues. That way the freshmen aren't the donkeys - not outsiders." According to Surkamp, that incites everyone on the team to buy into the philosophy.
Even while sitting out the 2012 season, Surkamp was one of 12 Wolfpack soccer players making the ACC's All-Academic team with at least a 3.0 average.
As a member of the Carolina Railhawks' Under-23 amateur squad this summer, Surkamp has kept his soccer skills at a high level.
During his prep days at Osbourn Park, the slick forward led the team in assists and was second in scoring during his junior and senior seasons. As a senior, he was named on All-Area by the Washington Post and Potomac News and a second team selection on All-Metro.
Playing on a private soccer team, the MPS Hurricanes, Surkamp captured a state championship in 2009.
George Cox, GoPack.com