Seldom does a three-year Owls athlete get inducted into the Keene State Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame, but men’s soccer player Osvaldo Molina is a worthy and deserving exception, becoming the 13th disciple of Coach Ron Butcher to receive the honor.

In his three seasons (1990-92) at Keene State, Molina was a maestro at his center back position, directing the flow of the game with his crisp passing, uncanny field vision, and unique ability to anticipate a play before it happened. “He had unbelievable skill and he could really weave his way out of any situation in the back,” said Butcher. “Not too many people expected him to go forward and when he did he usually made things happen.”

Born in Chile, Molina and his family spent four years in Argentina before moving to Montreal. Adopting a passion for soccer from his grandmother, who watched the game on television, Molina became smitten with the sport.

Developing his skills playing in leagues around Montreal, where he played against former Owls players including Martin Poirier ’89, Rudy Doliscat ’90, and Nick Fiorentino ’93, Molina ironically began his college career at Plymouth State before joining the Montreal connection at Keene State for the 1990 season.

Playing among his countrymen and being challenged by the college game brought out the best in Molina, who earned All-Conference, All-New England, and All-American honors as a junior, leading the Owls to an 18-4-1 record and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

“It was the perfect environment for me,” said Molina, a two-time KSC Athlete of the Year. “I was brought in by Butch to make things happen and make the team better, and I think I was able to do it, especially the year I made All-American.”

“I was more of a technical player,” Molina added. “I could see what the other team was doing before it happened. That was my strength, along with my passing.”

Teammate Mike Reynolds called Molina a magician.

“I tried not to play too much with the ball in the back because they said Butchy would have a heart attack,” said Molina.

Molina earned his degree in business management in 1993 and currently works for an investment firm in Montreal.

Playing for several semi-pro teams after leaving Keene State, Molina recently began coaching a U-13 team. “It’s amazing to see how kids perceive the game,” he said.

Molina said he was looking forward to returning to Keene State for the induction ceremony. “I can’t wait to show my family what Butch used to call ‘the best years of our lives.’”