Michelle Silva | Staff Writer
Whitworth men’s soccer team is on the prowl for a record year next season. Next Fall offers the team something that’s never been done before in Whitworth history: Winning a fourth straight title.
In preparation for the four-peat the team is taking a new approach.
“There’s no such thing as an off season in our program,” Junior Jonah Snyder said, “Right now we’re working on having a growth mindset.”
Having successful seasons in the last three years the team is avoiding an entitled mindset. Especially the 11 incoming senior veterans who have experienced nothing but conference titles for their last three years. For that reason the team is reaching out to the Spokane community.
The men’s soccer team hosts kid’s camps, volunteers at local churches and works with Peak 7 Adventures which is an outdoor non-profit organization.
“We’re a program that tries to invest in character rather than just talent,” Cathey said .
Community service has always been something that Cathey is passionate about. Four years ago, when Cathey first started coaching at Whitworth, the Dornsife Center for Community Engagement was the first place he visited, Cathey said.
Mentally and physically preparing for next season players said that working with children is playing a big role. On April 6 the team hosted a soccer clinic for over 100 kids in the Spokane area. The men’s and women’s soccer teams co-led the event.
“I want kids in the Spokane area to say that it would be a dream to play for Whitworth’s soccer team,” Cathey said.
Within the Spokane community the team gained an exceptional amount of fans, Cathey said. The youth clinics offer fun experiences for young soccer players and also to remind the Pirate team who they’re playing for.
Snyder said that the team is seeking new formations and looking to learn new things. These are both characteristics which can be learned from the children who they’ve been surrounding themselves with.
“I gain something from the kids, things that I once knew but need a constant reminder of,” junior Eric Espinoza said. “Adults are usually much more stringent and strict whereas the kids possess a very fun-loving spirit.”
The team is interacting with children on a consistent basis. Junior Tony Watters is interning as a soccer coach for the Red Rubies, a team of second grade girls in Spokane.
“Seeing their smiles and laughter at practice has definitely helped remind me that I am blessed enough to be playing this game,” Watters said.
With plans on coaching in the future, Watters said he’s gaining great experience.
In addition to the successful children’s camp, the team is also volunteering at an event called “Date Night.” Run by Real Life Ministries, “Date Night” is a community service opportunity where the team babysits for parents while they go out and have fun.
Snyder, Espinoza and Watters said they are learning more from the kids than they anticipated. They said the children provide examples of how to simplify the game all over again.
Through community service every team member’s character gets a chance to shine off the field, coach Cathey said he wants his team to learn how to work together in different arenas.
“When you get a group of millennials together to serve and be selfless it can be a transformative experience,” Cathey said.
As they continue building their mental game the team is focusing on four core values: hard work, gratitude, leaving a legacy and embracing expectations.