Alex Lee, a lifelong Rockville resident, can’t remember all of the events of Oct. 10, 2009. And that is probably a good thing.
At the time a sophomore at the University of Maryland, College Park, Lee and some friends went out to eat that night in upper Northwest Washington, D.C. After supper, Lee and his Terps soccer teammates were looking to cross Connecticut Avenue near Calvert Street.
“We were headed back to campus about 9 or 9:30. I really can’t recall the moment,” said Lee, a former standout at . “My teammates said I walked across the street and did not see the car. I jumped at the last moment and hit the windshield.”
Lee was rushed to George Washington University Hospital for skull surgery on the night of the accident, according to published reports. He missed the rest of the 2009 season.
He returned to play for the Terps in 2010. “I think about that a lot,” he said of the accident, standing outside a team house in College Park. “I am just happy to be alive. Since then I have had so many great experiences. In terms of soccer, I am extremely lucky, let alone to be living. I am extremely grateful to still be able to play soccer.”
“Thank God he is playing,” said Sasho Cirovski, the veteran Maryland head coach. “He had a near tragedy when he got hit by the car. It is almost two years to the day. To get back on the field was a miracle. The way he has played on the field is remarkable.”
Now a senior defender, Lee played in 15 of the Terps' first 16 games this season and had one assist. The Terps were ranked No. 1 in the country, with a 13-1-2 overall record (4-1-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) heading into a match at Clemson on Friday.
Lee's career highlights include saving two potential goals. “To have that courage and competitiveness is pretty amazing. He was a striker and now he is in the back,” Cirovski said. “He is a pretty special guy. It has been a great story.”
The son of Diane and Henry Lee, Alex Lee started playing organized soccer when he was 5. He played for his first travel team in Olney when he was in third grade. One of his brothers, Justin, Alex's identical twin, is a senior defender at Penn State. Their younger brother, Nathan, plays for Magruder. Their mother is a teacher at Magruder.
Lee hopes to play professionally after his college career.
“I am just focused on winning the national title. If we win the national championship everything will take care of itself. If we win a national championship it will give me and everyone else a better chance to turn pro,” he said. “I would like to play in (Major League Soccer). I would like to do it. It just depends. Right now I am focused on winning a championship.”