DiMarco driven to be the best

DiMarco driven to be the best

For his entire life, Mike DiMarco has always wanted to be the best, no matter what he was doing.  He’s carried that mindset with him into the classroom and onto the soccer field and it’s led him to become one of the top student-athletes at Catholic University.

DiMarco grew up competing against his older brother and sister, both of whom were college athletes.  “I always wanted to out-do my siblings,” DiMarco says.  “I have the same type of drive my dad does; I think that’s where it comes from.”

When he wasn’t going up against his brother and sister, DiMarco could be found on the soccer field.  “I played basketball and also ran track, but soccer is the sport I loved the most.  I’ve been playing it for 11 months out of the year for as long as I can remember.”

A native of Voorhees, New Jersey, DiMarco knew he wanted to continue playing in college.  When he began his search, he had a set of criteria his eventual school would have to meet.  “I really enjoy the big city,” he explains.  “And I wanted an opportunity to contribute on the field right away.”

While DiMarco was weighing his options on which school would fit best, Travis Beauchamp was just getting his feet wet as CUA’s new soccer coach.  One of his first tasks was to try and convince DiMarco that Washington, D.C. was the place for him.

“Only two weeks after getting the job I met Mike for the first time when he was a junior in high school,” Beauchamp says.  “It was obvious that our program needed improvement and Mike was excited about being part of that.”

Beauchamp continued, “We saw Mike play a number of times and the thing that stood out to us was how receptive he was to communication.  He’s a very responsible young man and was continually in contact with us, which was impressive.”

DiMarco wasted little time in making an impact for the Cardinals.  He started 18 games as a freshman, was the team’s fourth leading scorer and earned the Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year award.  While most freshmen need time to adjust to the speed and physicality of the college game, DiMarco settled right in.

The next season he helped lead CUA to a conference title and its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament, a feat the Cardinals would repeat in 2010.

Off the field, DiMarco was doing just as well.  He’s been named to the Dean’s List and Landmark Conference Academic Honor roll on numerous occasions, and last year he received ESPN Academic All-District recognition.  He also serves as the President of CUA’s SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee) program.

An accounting major, DiMarco maintains a grade point average of 3.81 and already has a job lined up with KPMG, which he’ll begin in October of 2012.

“I interned with the company this past summer and in 2010 I had an internship with the SEC, which I really enjoyed.  My parents have never pressured me into getting a certain grade in school or playing a sport, it comes from within; I want to be the best I can be no matter what I’m doing.”

That drive was enough to carry DiMarco through a difficult stretch earlier this season when he was forced to miss time due to an appendectomy.

“Right before we began preseason I had to be rushed to the hospital.  I felt like I was letting the younger guys on the team down and did not want my senior season to end on a bad note.”

As one might expect, DiMarco battled back and did not miss a single match for CUA, appearing in the team’s first contest vs. Christopher Newport, which was ranked sixth nationally at the time.

It’s that type of determination that Beauchamp gets to see everyday up close.  “Mike is the most goal-oriented kid I’ve been around as far as being able to accept a challenge and go after it with everything he has.  He’s had two great internships, he gets the job done in the classroom, he’s our captain, he’s the perfect guy for what we want out of the young men on our team.”

He adds, “Mike is the perfect example of what we’re trying to accomplish here at CUA.  We want to be proud of our guys for what they’re going to get done over the next 40 years of their life, not just for what they did during their four years here.”

As his senior season moves closer to completion, DiMarco pauses to reflect on his time at Catholic University. 

“I would not have chosen a different school to go to because of all the great memories I’ve made here. I’m still good friends with a lot of the guys I played with over the last couple of years and know that we’ll remain that way for a long time.  I have great coaches here and will definitely miss being around everyone once I’m gone.”