OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. — When freshman midfielder Kevin Martinez and the NYIT men's soccer team face Goldey-Beacom on Thursday, a familiar face intends to be in the stands at President's Stadium cheering them on.
Martinez's brother Carlos starred for the Bears from 2011 through 2014, helping lead NYIT to three NCAA Tournament appearances, two ECC titles and a 50-19-6 record during that span.
Kevin even wears the same number — 22 — that his brother wore while representing the Bears.
Carlos already has attended two matches this season to support his brother. He watches in person as frequently as his schedule allows.
Carlos now works for the child services unit of Suffolk County Social Services.
"I'm proud that he's following in my footsteps after me playing there for four years. Now he's playing there for the next four years, and even taking my number," said Carlos, who graduated from NYIT in 2015 with a business degree.
Kevin recalls only attending one NYIT match during his brother's four-year playing career — partly because of his own playing schedule at Bay Shore High School, and partly because he lacked transportation. But Kevin readily acknowledges Carlos was a big influence in steering him to NYIT.
Kevin had interest from other college programs, including from St. Joseph's, which is located in Philadelphia and plays at the Division I level.
Carlos ended up steering Kevin to NYIT.
"I told him it was a great program," Carlos said. "I enjoyed my four years there. I told him about it, and he got interested. He had offers. But he didn't want to go too far away. I was like, 'NYIT is perfect. It's 40 or 45 minutes to commute. You're close to home.'"
Said Kevin: "He convinced me, and told me how good the program is, and how good the soccer team is at the school. I feel like the school is just the right place for me. It just feels right when I come here."
Because of their age disparity, Kevin and Carlos have never been teammates. Kevin played for the Bay Shore High School varsity team beginning in the eighth grade, but Carlos already was enrolled at NYIT at that point.
This season, Kevin has started four matches for the Bears. That's tied with Alberto Alonso Marchan for the most starts on the team by a freshman.
As for Carlos, he identified the highlights of his NYIT playing career as winning East Coast Conference titles during his freshman and senior seasons.
"I got there and we won, and I left winning the ECC," Carlos said. "I feel like those are two big moments at NYIT."