By Louisa Benatovich
ECS Student Reporter
For Ellicottville boys’ soccer players, being an Eagle is not just about being part of a team; it’s about being a member of a family. From the season-starting team campout to the very end of playoffs, these boys learn what it means to be men. Under the dedicated leadership of Matt Finn, Chris Keenan, and Chris Edwards, boys’ soccer has become an ECS institution.
Being a boys’ soccer player isn’t easy, and their first week of practice is definitely no laughing matter. The varsity team, coached by Matt Finn, pushes through countless 1.5 mile loops, snake runs, shooting drills, and scrimmages to prep for the season. A snake run, for those who were wondering, is a soccer drill unlike any other. It is the systematic running of every line on the soccer field while alternating between a jog and sprint for every direction change. The snake run is regarded with a terrified reverence, and the boys will tell scary stories of days they ran into the double digits. “At the end of your last first week of soccer,” said a former ECS soccer player during his senior year, “You realize that this is the best shape you’ll ever be in your entire life.”
Coach Finn, who has coached boys’ soccer since 2003, is always excited about the prospect of a new season. “My favorite part of coaching boys’ soccer is that my boys become my family,” he says. “Mrs. Finn and I went to two weddings of former players this past year. I got a picture text that a player from 10 years ago had a baby. They become a part of my family.” Finn hopes that the varsity team can win another sectional title this year.
For every soccer player, being one of Mr. Finn’s boys is an honor and a privilege. “Mr. Finn is a great coach because he knows the perfect balance between being a tough coach, and also listening to and taking into consideration all of our opinions,” says Jack Snyder, junior and varsity soccer player.
“As a team this season,” Snyder continues, “I want to win the league title and also become serious contenders for the Section title. Personally, I want to score over 15 goals this season, but more importantly be a leader on and off the field.”
Brennan Finn, Coach Finn’s son, has big dreams for the season as well. This will be Brennan’s last year of soccer at ECS, and he is going to make sure it counts. “As a senior, I hope to learn as much from the team as I can,” says Brennan. “I hope that we come together and reach our full potential. I believe that a soccer field is the greatest place on earth and, this year, I get to play on it with amazing teammates.”
For Brennan, playing soccer isn’t just a part of life; it is life. “My favorite part of playing is the feeling that all of life is behind you,” he says. “You don’t have to worry about anything other than the team that is with you and ahead of you.”
“After I leave the ECS soccer team,” Brennan concludes, “I will miss the family we have made and the bonds between both other teams and my own teammates, both current and former.”
This year, the ECS boys’ soccer family is going to be bigger than ever. “Although we have no JV team this year, we had to break the modified up into two teams. Fifty-five boys are playing soccer this year,” Coach Finn said. With so much talent to choose from, there’s no telling what the 2018 boys’ soccer season will hold.