December 3, 2020

Men’s soccer goalie can handle the heat

Alex Cupp, Webster University men's soccer goalie

Webster University senior goalkeeper Alex Cupp prepares a seafood dish in the kitchen of Stellina, the restaurant he works at. Cupp, who started 18 of 19 games for the men’s soccer team last season, realized he wanted to become a cook when he took cooking classes at Lutheran South High School. PHOTO BY COLLEEN DOHERTY / The Journal

While the offense is on the scoring attack, Alex Cupp stands in goal for the Webster University men’s soccer team. This is one of the few moments throughout the day when Cupp has nothing to do. It’s the perfect time for him to think about new food combinations to cook at work later that night.
Cupp loves trying out new things in the kitchen, and working almost 10 hours a night as a line cook at Stellina gives him that opportunity.
“I love to experiment with foods,” Cupp said. “Even if it ends up being the worst thing in the world, I’ll try it again and do something else.”
Cupp became interested in cooking at a young age. His dad made food for family and friends, and Cupp tasted everything. Cupp then became interested in how the food was made.
“He never wanted to tell me at first, so that furthered my interest,” Cupp said.
It wasn’t until taking cooking classes at Lutheran South High School in St. Louis that Cupp realized he wanted to become a cook.
“Once I was a senior in high school, I knew I wanted to cook for the rest of my life,” Cupp said.
Cupp started working at Stellina when it opened in 2005. He worked there for a year and a half before leaving to work at The Racquet Club, a country club in Ladue. After two years, Cupp returned to Stellina and was put in charge of desserts.
Stellina was considered Italian when it first opened because of the handmade pasta the restaurant served. Now, it’s evolving into something different.
“We just like to experiment with a couple dishes per night,” Cupp said. “We don’t want to tag ourselves with Italian, especially since we’re so close to the Hill.”
Stellina is where Cupp spends his nights Tuesday through Saturday. School and soccer take up the other portion of his days, but he doesn’t mind being busy because he loves what he does.
“I think I’m at the point where school is not so much school as much as it is learning something I’m interested in,” Cupp said. “I’m in the audio program, and now it’s strictly doing hands-on audio stuff. It’s just way more interesting for me.”
Soccer acts as a break in Cupp’s day, sandwiched between school in the morning and work at night.
“It’s almost a relief for me from being in the kitchen,” Cupp said. “In soccer, I’m just going to go have fun with a bunch of my friends and run around for a little bit. It’s a change of pace.”
Cupp almost didn’t attend Webster. He seriously considered going to either Fontbonne University or Maryville University after attending St. Louis Community College­—Forest Park for culinary school. It wasn’t until talking to Webster coach Marty Todt that Cupp became interested in Webster. Todt has known Cupp since he was in grade school, since Todt’s nephew is one of Cupp’s good friends.

Webster University men's soccer goalie Alex Cupp

Webster University men's soccer goalie Alex Cupp shows off one of his creations in the kitchen of Stellina, the restaurant he works at. PHOTO BY COLLEEN DOHERTY / The Journal

“One day we were talking, and he was talking about the possibility of business management,” Todt said. “I talked to him about Webster and their business program. He visited and just really liked it. I think he found a real comfort level academically with Webster University.”
Todt also likes Cupp’s goalkeeping abilities.
“He reads the play well,” Todt said. “His technical ability is one of the best, and his knack of stopping penalty kicks is uncanny.”
For Cupp, it can be boring at times standing in the goal waiting for action to come to him, but he finds ways to keep his head in the game.
“I like to yell a lot, which keeps me a part of the game,” Cupp said.
Cupp is a strong competitor with high intensity when playing goalie. It’s his time to let loose.
“He’s probably as mellow off the field as his intensity is on the field,” Todt said. “He’s almost like a throwback to the ‘60s.”
The daily routine of going to school, soccer and work may seem like a lot to handle, but Cupp enjoys every aspect of his day.
“I wake up and do it all over again. It’s fun for me,” Cupp said. “Not a lot of people can say that about school.”
After he graduates, Cupp wants to travel and work in a variety of restaurants before settling in St. Louis and opening his own place.
“By the time I’m 30, I want to have my own restaurant, bar and venue-type place with live music, good food and lots of alcohol,” Cupp said. “That’s my goal I’ve set for myself.”

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