From newcomer to captain: Sac State men’s soccer forward makes immediate impact

Austin Wehner makes All-Big West first team in his first season on campus


Hugo Quintanilla

Junior forward Austin Wehner during the men’s soccer practice at Hornet Field on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. Wehner transferred from San Diego State to Sacramento State after three seasons with the Aztecs men’s soccer team.

Hugo Quintanilla

He shoots, he scores and now he’s the captain of the Sacramento State men’s soccer team.

After three seasons with the San Diego State Aztecs, junior forward Austin Wehner realized that finishing his career in his own backyard, so to speak, was best for him.

“I had to do what’s best for me; I obviously have aspirations of going to the next level,” Wehner said. “And I just decided to come home and be close to my family’s support. I think that it was just gonna be the best opportunity for me, too.”  

Since his youth, Wehner had the ball at his feet and his family’s support, he said. 

Wehner said following his older brother’s footsteps of playing soccer was something he always saw himself doing.  

“It’s always nice knowing that I have such a supportive and loving family that was just willing to be with me through the ups and downs of the game,” Wehner said. 

He said that his family was always his biggest supporters, his biggest fans and they were always in his corner, supporting his choices. 

Arriving at Sac State, Wehner said he didn’t expect any labels. He said he knew that he was just here to play and work hard.  

Wehner said he knew he was going to be able to make connections with a lot of his teammates because he had played with or against them on previous teams.  

“I knew [Wehner] was going to be a great competitor because I saw what he brought to his team when he played,” redshirt freshman midfielder Stacy Holmes said.  

Wehner said his hard work allowed him to be more vocal with his teammates, which led to him being more comfortable and gaining his their respect.  

He saw that he could use his voice to encourage those around him and bring the best out of them. 

“He fit in so quickly into the team; he works so hard,” Sac State head coach Michael Linenberger said. “Austin rose to the top and so we named him as a second captain at the end of the pre-season.” 

Not only did his hard work earn him the captain role, but during the 2022 men’s soccer season, Wehner was chosen into the the Big West all conference first team, making him the fifth player in the program’s history to earn a first-team selection.  

Wehner was one of seven Hornets who received The Big West Conference Honors. 

“It was an honor,” Wehner said. “I didn’t necessarily think that I was going to gain that award, but I was very proud and happy to be given it.”   

Sac State’s junior forward Austin Wehner waiting for the ball, taking on University of San Francisco junior defender Elias Thomas at the Hornet Field on Sept. 22, 2022. San Diego State transfer Austin Wehner made All-Big West first team in his first season with the Hornets. (Hugo Quintanilla)

The last time the Hornets had a first-team selection for men’s soccer was in 2017. Wehner’s hard work this season is not only being seen by Sac State, but those around his game.

“He’s been a great addition to our team,” junior defender Genaro Alfaro said. “He has a good work ethic, came in and made an immediate impact on our team. He’s helped us a lot and we’re happy to have him here.” 

Wehner led the Hornets offense with his hard work, even landing a winning goal against University of California, Riverside.

“I don’t necessarily think that I was the sole purpose as to why we made [the Big West playoffs], but it’s a good feeling to know that when I came in I was able to help the team get there and make some history.” Wehner said. 

During the 2022 season, Wehner led the men’s soccer team to a winning record 9-8-2 and helped them get back into the postseason. It was also Sac State’s first winning season since  2016.  

Playing 1,358 minutes in 18 of 19 games during the 2022 season, Wehner scored four goals and three assists. He was one of three players who got double-digit points this past season.  

“I think it’s gonna be a really good season [next season],” Wehner said. “We’ll be able to go on a run and be competing for a Big West title for sure.”