TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Pima Community College soccer player says the military helped sharpen his skills, But, he wasn't talking about the U.S. military.
In Nils Roth’s home county of Switzerland, when men reach the age of 20, it’s mandatory they enlist in the military. Before coming out to play for Dave Cosgrove at Pima, Roth did just that, spending time fine-tuning the discipline he would later use to help the Aztecs win the national championship.
For a year and a half between 2017 and 2018, Roth was a soldier.
“It was tough, to be honest. It was completely another world,” Roth said.
“You can’t question it a lot because if you question what you have to do you can get bored. Or you don’t see ... the sense of it.”
What Roth had to do was train in the high village of Andermatt, tucked within the Swiss Alps.
The scenery was breathtaking. The work, perhaps, not as much.
Up at 5 a.m. every day, each day was a test of will that included climbing over 13,000 feet.
“I was not a climber at all, but staying like over 4,000-meter high mountains, that was kind of scary, but also impressive,” he said.
Also impressive? Surviving survival week, including when his band of brothers were dropped off in the middle of a forest armed only with a map and tasked with finding their way back to camp, nearly 40 miles away, by sunset.
“We tried to go have an overview where we were at. Then we had to find ourself on the card, and then we could calculate how much time we need.”
More than 7 hours later, Roth’s team made it back to camp. It was one of many growing experiences that helped him gain resilience, something that’s played a role in his success at Pima.
“It can help you actually to believe in yourself when you reflect back on what you already accomplished.”