Written by Devon Lee
This year, Joey Cianfichi is one of only three freshman to make it onto the boys varsity soccer team. For most freshman, making it onto a high school sports team is an accomplishment itself; however, the few who do make it onto varsity must endure immense pressure and stress due to the level of skill it takes to become a varsity athlete.
Ever since he started playing soccer, Cianfichi has been the smallest and shortest player on his team, something that has prepared him for varsity soccer. “A couple years back I played on a team where I was the youngest kid and all of them were already in high school,” he said. According to varsity soccer Coach Ken Luis, one of Cianfichi’s main strengths is that he uses body position, quickness, and experience to nullify the difference in size between him and his opponents. “He’s exceptionally good at getting advantages over bigger and faster players, which is why he’s done well on varsity,” he said.
Varsity has made him not only a better player, but also a more well rounded individual. Many teammates, such as sophomore James Hahn, describe Cianfichi as laid-back, and fun to hang around. One of the main struggles of being a freshman on Varsity is fitting in with older kids; however, Hahn believes Joey has found his place and gets along with his teammates just fine. “Everyone on the team kinda has groups, but generally we all just hang together,” he said. “I mean Joey fits in pretty well.”
Despite his mellow personality, Joey is an absolute beast in the game. According to Luis, one of the main reasons Joey made it onto the team was his excellent technique and extensive knowledge of the game. “From the very beginning Joey showed a lot of great skills on the ball,” he said. “His playing style is very advanced, very thoughtful, and very effective.”
Even as a highly accomplished and skilled individual, Cianfichi still strives to be a better player. Cianfichi believes that in order to improve as a player, one must focus on improving one flaw at a time, rather than attempting to fix everything at once. “If I keep doing well in one aspect of my game than I can just get better at everything else,” he said. According to Hahn, Cianfichi has some aspects of his game he needs to work on in order to take the next step as a player. “He’s smaller, and weaker than other kids, and his shooting is one of his weaknesses,” he said.
At the pace he’s going at, at such a young age, Luis believes that Joey has a bright future. “I think if he’s going the way he’s going he could play college and/or pro,” he said.