Kevin Stiner | January 06, 2023
Shooting for the Stars
Aspiring student photographer receives invitation to shoot the national soccer championship in Orlando.
An aspiring student photographer is making a name for himself in the world of athletics. Sport Management and Journalism and Broadcasting double major Mathieu Starke has photographed everything from high-stakes professional competitions to SUNY Brockport’s Division III events.
“In my opinion, we were gifted a professional photographer on our athletic staff and he’s just finishing up his undergraduate work,” said Gil Burgmaster, Brockport’s Associate Athletic Director. “We’re so fortunate to have someone like Mathieu as a student photographer. He sets the standard in terms of quality for our photography staff.”
Perhaps the highlight of Starke’s budding career was shooting the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the nation’s longest running soccer cup competition that is among the oldest in the world. His portfolio includes an impressive gallery of images from the 2022 championship which crowned Orlando City SC 3-0 over Sacramento Republic FC.
“Everything is bigger, everything is louder, everything is faster.”
Soccer fans in Western New York may remember the 1999 Open Cup Champion – the Rochester Raging Rhinos, still the lone non-Division I participant to claim the cup.
The opportunity began with assignments shooting soccer clubs like Flower City Union and the ROC City Boom. From there, he got connected with TheCup.US and began photographing early round games in Western New York. That led to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cover the U.S. Open Cup final.
“Everything is bigger, everything is louder, everything is faster,” said Starke about the Open Cup environment. “Just going to something like that would have excited me, but to be able to have a small hand in something like that with everything going on gave me a different perspective of everything going on in the game.”
Starke went onto explain that many fans view the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with more prestige than the MLS Cup because of the full year it takes to crown a champion and the sheer number of teams the tournament includes from various levels.
Starke’s photography skills originated from his time as a student-athlete at Clinton Community College. He was a member of the men’s soccer program and contests were scheduled back-to-back with the school’s women’s team. During downtime, Starke began crafting his photography skills as a way to fulfill his art general education requirement.
After transferring to Brockport, he began taking photos for the Athletics Department. Eventually, he earned opportunities to write articles on the different teams he was photographing.
“You can see his passion for sports and photography in his work,” shared Burgmaster. “We’re really proud of how far he has come as a photographer and as a person. He works extremely hard, travels across the country and jumps at any opportunity there is to work while making connections to prepare himself for a career after graduation.”
Starke says all his hard work is aimed at building the next phase of his career.
“I’ve tried to spend a lot of time really building something that is going to make me stand out,” he said.