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Gay midfielder’s five goals change New Jersey soccer team’s trajectory

Openly gay soccer player Arman Bashiri is his school’s male athlete of the week and the focus of our LGBTQ college sports roundup.

Bloomfield College soccer player Arman Bashiri, right, dribbles the ball up the field during a men’s soccer game.
Bloomfield College Sports Information Department

BLOOMFIELD, New Jersey — It took until the ninth game of the season, but Arman Bashiri finally got to unveil his goal celebration.

With the goalie coming at him, he put a shot from 17 yards out inside the right post. The right-footed midfielder gave the Bloomfield College men’s soccer team a 2-1 lead.

Bashiri ran towards the stands, bent forward at the waist, put his arms out like a bird and jumped.

“It’s a very stupid celebration just for fun,” said Bashiri, who is gay.

Bloomfield men’s soccer player Arman Bashiri prepares to kick the ball during a game.
Bloomfield College Sports Information Department

Less than three minutes remained when he scored, so the whole team knew the goal was big. All his teammates on the field ran to hug him and celebrate.

The Bloomfield Bears held on and beat American International 2-1 on Oct. 2.

Four days later, Bashiri scored both goals in Bloomfield’s 2-0 win against Goldey-Beacom.

Bashiri scored three goals in two games and five goals in five games to swing the momentum of Bloomfield’s season. The senior’s increased scoring coincided with the loss of the team’s top scorer to injury.

“I had to take the responsibility on myself to score more goals,” Bashiri said. “I’ve just been more focused, I guess, to get in front of the goal and just to smell the balls and see where the balls are going.”

Arman Bashiri, No. 20, makes a play on the ball during a Bloomfield College men’s soccer game.
Bloomfield College Sports Information Department

For his three goals in two games, Bloomfield athletics named him its male athlete of the week, which is called the “Bear of the Week.”

After losing its first seven games of the season, Bloomfield (4-8 overall) won four consecutive games from Sept. 29 to Oct. 10. Regsan Watkins, who scored 13 goals in 2017, returned from his injury for the Oct. 10 win.

Bashiri’s five goals this season now lead Bloomfield.

“When he wasn’t injured, we were all a little reliant on him,” Bashiri said of Watkins. “Everyone would just rely on him to score the goals, me included. Maybe that [Watkins’ injury] sparked something in me to take more responsibility.”

Watkins suffered his injury in the 33rd minute of Bloomfield’s Sept. 22 game against Holy Family. With Watkins out, Bloomfield’s coach changed the offensive alignment at halftime from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-1-1.

The 5-foot-7, 165-pound Bashiri scored two second-half goals in the Holy Family game, but Bloomfield lost 3-2. With the team trailing, Bashiri didn’t unveil his goal celebration against Holy Family.

He saved the celebration for the next three goals. He only celebrates when Bloomfield is winning.

“It [the season] didn’t get off to the best start, but I’ve found out, you’ve got to make the best out of it,” Bashiri said amid the four-game winning streak. “This is how life is, too. It’s doesn’t always go your way. But I’m happy, right now.”

Bashiri plans to graduate in May with a degree in finance. He is looking at a career as a financial advisor.

The end of his competitive soccer career isn’t far away now. The regular season ends Oct. 26.

Before taking off his Bloomfield jersey for the final time, he hopes to celebrate a few more goals.

Arman Bashiri can be reached on Instagram @Abashirii or by email armanbashiri@hotmail.com.

Names in bold are people that have announced publicly they identify as LGBTQ. Results are for competitions that took place Oct. 1-14.

Division I

Matt Aronson (senior, Wisconsin men’s diving) finished fifth in 3-meter springboard (309.15 points) and sixth in 1-meter springboard (270.98) during Friday’s dual meet with Minnesota, which includes Jesse Moore (assistant coach, Minnesota men’s and women’s swimming). Wisconsin won the meet 170-130.

Jake Bain (freshman, Indiana State football) announced on Twitter on Oct. 9 that he is moving to the offensive side of the ball as a wide receiver after practicing at cornerback to this point.

Clark Carter (senior, Indiana men’s diving) took 10th in 3-meter springboard (142.65 points) and 11th on 1-meter springboard (133.15) during a four-team meet Oct. 10 at Indiana with Kentucky, Missouri and Notre Dame. Indiana won the meet as a team.

Lisa Coe (junior, Pittsburgh women’s diving) finished fifth on 3-meter springboard (227.25 points) and sixth on 1-meter springboard (223.73) during Saturday’s dual meet vs. George Washington. Pitt beat GW 199-93.

Xavier Colvin (redshirt junior, Butler football) recorded six tackles in Saturday’s 35-17 loss against Valparaiso. Butler (3-3 overall) went 0-2 the last two weeks.

Aidan Faminoff (junior, Florida State men’s diving) opened the season by winning 1-meter springboard (311.65 points) in a dual meet with Pitt and Georgia Tech on Oct. 6. It marked his first collegiate springboard win. He also finished fourth in 3-meter springboard (306.0 points) at the meet. His performance earned Faminoff his first ACC Men’s Diver of the Week honor.

Scott Frantz (redshirt junior, Kansas State football) started at left tackle in both Wildcats games as Kansas State (3-4 overall) went 1-1 the last two weeks.

Abbie Hetherington (redshirt senior, Oklahoma State women’s cross country) finished 57th of 215 runners in 22 minutes, 9.1 seconds in Saturday’s 6-kilometer Barrios Invitational.

Kathleen Keegan (senior, Boston women’s field hockey) made three saves as goalie in Saturday’s 3-2 win against Bucknell. She made a career-high eight saves in a 2-0 loss to Harvard on Oct. 7.

Johnny Kemps (senior, Boston men’s cross country) finished 126th of 234 runners in 25:14.5 at Saturday’s 8-kilometer NCAA Pre-National race in Madison, Wisconsin.

Ryan Signorino (senior, St. Bonaventure men’s cross country) helped the Bonnies win the five-team Race In The Park on Oct. 6 by finishing the 8-kilometer race 20th in 31:24.9. On Saturday, Signorino came in 191st of 276 runners in 31.04 at the 8-kilometer Gettysburg Invitational.

Nunzio Esposto (diving coach, Duke men’s and women’s teams) guided divers to wins in three of four diving events against Virginia Tech on Saturday.

James Finley (head coach, Seattle women’s volleyball) had the Redhawks (8-12 overall) go 0-4 the last two weeks.

Patrick Jeffrey (diving coach, Stanford men’s and women’s teams) coached divers to wins in the women’s 3-meter and men’s 1-meter springboard during a dual meet against Utah on Oct. 9.

Manny Pollard (diving coach, Illinois women’s team) guided diver Ling Kuhn to wins on 3-meter springboard during the first two meets of the season — at Indiana State on Oct. 11 and against Michigan State on Oct. 12.

Division II

Cheradyn Pettit (senior, Mercy women’s field hockey) made nine saves at goalie during a 3-2 win against St. Thomas Aquinas on Oct. 10. Mercy (3-9 overall) went 2-2 the last two weeks.

Payton Tomasko (junior, Edinboro women’s tennis) lost at No. 5 singles and No. 2 doubles in a dual meet with West Chester on Oct. 6.

Jake Van Ittersum (junior, Northwood football) started at left guard in both games the last two weeks as the Timberwolves went 2-0.

Tony Nicolosi (head coach, Cal State East Bay men’s & women’s cross country) guided the women’s team to a win at Saturday’s 23-team Santa Clara Bronco Invitational. The men’s team finished fifth. Nicolosi said in a press release, “We are starting to run our best at the right time, and it was really cool to see these women win a meet.”

Division III

Lindsey Farrell (senior, McDaniel women’s soccer) scored a goal and recorded two assists as the Green Terror (8-4 overall) went 3-1 the last two weeks. She scored her goal and had an assist in Saturday’s 4-2 win against Haverford.

Matthew Garza (junior, Johns Hopkins men’s swimming) opened the season by taking fifth in the 100-yard butterfly (53.43 seconds) and sixth in the 200 butterfly (1:58.38) while helping the 400 freestyle relay finish fourth in a three-team meet Oct. 6.

Isaac Hanson (sophomore, Hamline men’s swimming) competed in five events at Friday’s season-opening dual meet. His best finishes were second in the 100-yard butterfly (55.85 seconds) and third in the 100 individual medley (1:00.99). Hamline beat Macalester 959-811.

Zach Johnson (freshman, MIT men’s cross country) finished 32nd of 171 runners in 25:46.57 at the 8-kilometer NEICAAA meet on Oct. 6

Harrison Knowlton (senior, Middlebury men’s cross country) and Tucker Meijer (senior, Amherst men’s cross country) competed at Saturday’s 8-kilometer Connecticut College Invitational. Knowlton came in 37th of 402 runners in 25:53.7. Middlebury finished third of the 27 teams. Meijer helped Amherst win the team title as he finished ninth in 25:18.7.

Wyatt Pertuset (junior, Capital football) caught four passes for 66 yards and punted five times for 184 yards in Saturday’s 77-3 loss against No. 1-ranked Mount Union. On Oct. 6 in a 44-0 loss to No. 11-ranked John Carroll, Pertuset had one carry for 23 yards and one catch for eight yards, and he punted eight times for 234 yards.

Taylor Reifert (senior, Pomona-Pitzer men’s soccer) headed in a goal during a 7-0 win against Caltech on Oct. 6. He provided the assist on the game’s first goal during a 3-2 win against La Verne on Oct. 10.

NAIA

Eva Bower (sophomore, Milligan women’s soccer) recorded a career-high 16 saves before McConnell University scored the game-winning goal during the 109th minute in Saturday’s 1-0 double overtime McConnell win.

NJCAA

Cliff Hastings (head coach, Parkland women’s volleyball) and Ron Hoppe-Hastings (assistant coach, Parkland women’s volleyball) captured the Mid-West Athletic Conference Championship while completing an undefeated regular season in the conference. They led the No. 2-ranked Cobras (41-2 overall) to a 7-1 record the last two weeks. Parkland reached 20 consecutive matches won before the four-set loss to No. 3-ranked Coffeyville on Oct. 6. Parkland also clinched the top seed in the Region 24 postseason tournament.

Erik Hall can be reached via email at hallerik7@gmail.com or on Twitter @HallErik or Facebook. If you are an out LGBTQ athlete or coach and want your accomplishments recognized, please email Erik.