Co-Captain Will Raphael ’18, a day student from Andover, Mass., has been playing soccer ever since his father signed him up for a youth league with his sister when he was just two years old.
Even after developing into a successful player in his own right, Raphael’s father has remained one of his greatest motivators in his soccer career, according to Raphael.
Raphael said, “The thing that probably influences me the most is my dad because he comes to all my games and he’s a good soccer player himself. He’s always been my biggest support. He was pretty successful as well so I’ve always wanted to live up to that.”
Raphael is Andover’s starting center defensive midfielder, a position that requires agility as well as a thorough knowledge of the playing field and the positioning of both his fellow teammates and the rivaling opponents, according to his teammates.
Owen Glover ’19 said, “Will is just such a phenomenal athlete. He is really fast, really strong, and really physical. He wins almost every single 50-50 ball in the midfield which is so important for our team so he is really special… In games, he has had so many single plays that just change the course of the game and bring everyone up and get people going.”
According to David O’Brien ’21, Raphael has an aptitude for heading the ball, which has resulted in many goals for Andover.
O’Brien said, “His strength is heading the ball. We’ve scored [about] half of our goals off of set pieces where he just gets up and heads it into the back of the net.”
Raphael added, “I guess my big thing has been working hard because I haven’t necessarily always been the biggest, strongest, or fastest player so, if nothing else, work your hardest because talent isn’t everything, and you can certainly make up for a lot if you are working your hardest all the time.”
According to Raphael, although winning is important, it is not the only important aspect of soccer to him.
Raphael said, “The thing that makes me want to keep playing is probably being on a team. I really enjoy being on a team and sharing the experience with the guys on this team and on other teams I’ve played for. So, if not just scoring goals, [what I love most] is being on a team and being with other players.”
Raphael leads Andover by providing his teammates with pointers and tips to improve on their game, according to his teammates.
O’Brien said, “I feel like everyone respects him on the team. No one is going to talk back to Will if [he] tells you to do something. He is a strong captain, and he doesn’t yell. He won’t yell; he’ll more like ask you to do something, but if he asks you to do something, you’ll do it. In practice, he’s taught us to give it everything and go into tackles. If you don’t have the right mindset in any practice [however] meaningless it might be, if you don’t bring the right mindset and work your hardest, you’re not going to get better.”
Glover added, “He does a great job telling us what to do and where to be. He is just a great guy. Everyone likes him, he works really hard, and everyone respects him for that, so people really listen to his leadership.”