Mbambi Mbungu started out playing at Keene State College as a junior after transferring from a college in Virginia. Now he will end his senior year with 22 total goals, after playing a total of 2,849 minutes at Keene State. During KSC’s 2023 season, Mbungu ended with 10 goals, the highest goal scorer for the men’s team. Mbungu was also recognised multiple times by the Little East Conference over his years at Keene, and this year was selected for the first team for All Conference Honors.
“I wanted to play soccer in a college division. A lot of kids back home where I come from, they look up to me and when you see someone like me who is going to college and is doing things like that, they would probably want to do it too, so that is one of the biggest motivations that I have because I am not doing it just for me. I am glad that I have motivated a lot of people too, so hopefully the next generation can do something better or do something like me,” Mbungu said.
Unfortunately, near the end of the season Mbungu suffered from an injury that made him unable to play in the last couple games for the Owls. He explained, “This started off as one of the best seasons I’ve had at this school, and also one of the worst because I was out for like a month; I was out for a month at the peak of my career and then I got injured and I was out, and there was nothing I could do for the team.”
The head men’s soccer coach Matt Schmidt explained how players like Mbungu are hard to find, “His ball mastery and his technical ability are very high, but then he’s very fast and very quick. Some players are quick but not fast, some guys are fast but it takes them a while to get there; he’s both, and he’s hungry and has a high desire to score. He’s a finisher,” Schmidt said.
Off the field, Mbungu studies studio art. “He’s a great artist, if you look at the fields… There are three flags that are up, there’s the American flag, there is the New Hampshire flag and then there’s a white flag that says Owls soccer with an image on it, and Mbambi designed that,” Schmidt said.
When asked why Mbungu chose Keene State, he said, “I chose Keene State because it’s like a family here, and I feel very welcome here.”
Before KSC, Mbungu went to a school in Virginia, but then he ended up transferring, “it was closer to home,” he said.
After Keene State, Mbungu said he plans to play somewhere else. “After I recover from my injury, maybe I’m going to play somewhere else,” Mbungu said. “I want to be able to coach and influence the next generation.”
Schmidt said, “We’re going to miss Mbambi. Those kind of players that have all those skills, they’re not every player you’re recruiting. I think we’ll have other players that step up and do great things, but we’ll miss him.”
Molly Lu McKellar can be contacted