While growing up in Venezuela, Andover Boys Soccer Head Coach Edwin Escobar developed a love for the game by playing and watching soccer with his father. According to Escobar, soccer has always been an important part of his life.
Escobar said, “Coming to the states not knowing a word of English, I felt like soccer did a lot of the talking for me. While I wasn’t able to speak the language, I was able to get to the playground with a soccer ball. I began making friends right away.”
Before coming to Andover, Coach Escobar worked at Tabor Academy in Marion, Mass. and coached both Varsity and Junior Varsity soccer, which allowed him to work with players on a variety of levels.
Coach Escobar said, “You have to meet the players as well as their needs. I find it to be a unique experience, having had the opportunity to work not just with the Varsity programs, but with the Junior Varsity programs as well. It’s also great to see some of the JV players moving forward and going on to play Varsity.”
Last season, Coach Escobar was Assistant Coach to Head Coach Will Orben, who is on sabbatical this year. Heading into this season, the team was looking forward to learning more about the game and other aspects of life from Coach Escobar, according to Hayden Weatherall ’18.
Weatherall said, “I was super excited to hear last spring that Escobar would be our coach for this season. He knows a ton about the game, not only between the white lines, but on a person-to-person level as well. He always has little tidbits of his own experiences for motivation and growth.”
Thomas MacWilliams ’18 added, “I appreciate the personal approach that Coach Escobar takes with each player. He helps each of us work on our individual strengths and weaknesses so that we’re best equipped to deal with each practice and game.”
Coach Escobar has also made a strong impact on the team, which has already tallied more points than last season with its skilled offense.
“Last year we had a really hard time scoring, but this season we’ve already scored more than last year, and we still have six games left. Our defense was our strong point last year, but now it’s our offense that is doing well. We’re still learning how to work with each other, and we have a lot of new players that are still learning the system and a more physical style of play,” Coach Escobar said.
In order to train the team to bring equal intensity to every game, Coach Escobar uses practice to push his players to work hard and stay focused.
“We have to treat every game like it’s the most important game of the season, so our training sessions have to be high-intensity to replicate the intensity that the game will be. We focus on one area at a time, rather than trying to do too many things in one practice,” said Coach Escobar.
In an email to The Phillipian, Luc Pan ’19 wrote, “I think Coach Escobar has done pretty well this season as a first-year coach, and it is crucial for us as a team right now to understand the amount of games left and how many wins we need to get in order to make playoffs. This is a time for Coach Escobar to push the team to be focused and give 100 percent in every practice.”
When it comes to game preparation, Coach Escobar teaches the team not to overlook weaker opponents and to take the season one game at a time.
Coach Escobar said, “Every opponent poses a different threat. It makes you think about different strategies because every game that you play is challenging, but the following game becomes even more challenging because there’s word out of how it is that we play.”
According to Weatherall, Coach Escobar encourages each and every one of his players to play not just for themselves, but for their teammates and everybody around them.
Weatherall said, “I think Coach Escobar has done an amazing job reminding us of the importance of the game as a unifier… Everything else, like coaching style and knowledge, of which Coach Escobar has a lot, is second to that. He reminds us that success in soccer is all about playing for the other ten brothers on the pitch with you.”