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Remembering a Soccer Legend

Assistant+Coach+Hartman%2C+Jake+Restivo%2C+Erik+Matthews%2C+Coach+Evans%2C+Justin+Matthews+and+Josh+Scheeren
Assistant Coach Hartman, Jake Restivo, Erik Matthews, Coach Evans, Justin Matthews and Josh Scheeren

Assistant Coach Hartman, Jake Restivo, Erik Matthews, Coach Evans, Justin Matthews and Josh Scheeren

Assistant Coach Hartman, Jake Restivo, Erik Matthews, Coach Evans, Justin Matthews and Josh Scheeren

Erik Matthews, Sr. High Staff Writer

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This past weekend, Galway hosted its annual soccer banquet for both varsity boys’ and girls’ soccer teams. Many end of the season memories were shared, and honors were received, but the most important news of the evening came from Neil Evans, the varsity boys’ coach. Coach Evans has been coaching here at Galway now for many years, both at the modified and varsity levels. He has received over 300 career wins in his time, which is a very prestigious accomplishment as a high school soccer coach. Coach Evans has been a very integral part of the soccer program here at Galway. Not only has he been able to see his players grow, he has been able to develop their soccer skills so they leave the program better than they started. He is a perfectionist at its finest. Coach Evans does not accept the word mediocre. He has driven every one of his players to succeed on the field, in the classroom, and in all aspects of their lives. Not only has he helped shape Galway’s soccer program, but he has helped shape everyone in it. As Evans took the podium one last time at the banquet for the evening, the crowd grew silent.

Right then and there, Evans announced he would be retiring as a coach. The emotion in the air was unbearable. As the tears streamed out of his eyes, he quietly announced that his coaching days were over. He bit his lip and tried to squeeze out final words to his players, something every soccer coach fears. As a player who has been with Coach Evans for 4 years, it was an extremely hard experience. Watching such a phenomenal coach step down after a long reign of successful coaching was hard. He was more than a coach to his players — he was a role model. He was simply a perfect human being in every way. One can not put into words how much Galway’s soccer program benefited from such a tremendous coach. As I sat at the banquet and looked around at the underclassmen, I could see them beginning to question whether varsity soccer could ever be the same without Coach Evans. My answer to them, in the most optimistic way, is most likely not. As much as I would love to say there has to be another incredible coach out there somewhere, it makes me think about how unique Coach Evans was. The experience that he had under his belt was enough to mold a losing soccer team into state champions. The amount of energy in his body before every game was something that can never be matched. And most importantly, the amount of passion Coach Evans had for the game is something that can never be recreated. Coach Evans was a coach one in one million people could say they’ve had.  He is an incredible person, but an inexplicable coach. Thank you for playing such a huge role in so many players’ lives, and thank you for having such a big impact on Galway’s soccer program’s history. Galway will miss such a tremendous coach.

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Remembering a Soccer Legend