Unmatched knowledge of the game, commitment to inclusivity, and competitiveness are hallmarks of Co-Captain Eric Osband’s ’19 leadership on Andover Boys Water Polo, according to his teammates.
Osband has played water polo for eight years and was a member of a year-round club team in Greenwich, Conn. prior to coming to Andover.
As a Junior, Osband brought unmatched playing experience to the team; however, his stature and age limited his playing abilities, according to Head Coach David Fox. During his time at Andover, Osband has gained strength which has enhanced his physical capabilities.
In an email to The Phillipian, Ryan Sedagat ’19, a friend and former teammate, said, “He’s got absolutely chiseled abs. Eric is a god made of marble by the hands of Zeus. Just a better version of Poseidon when you add in his ability to swim and dominate the field when playing water polo.”
Coach Fox has watched Osband grow into a more capable player as Osband’s physical ability has developed to match his technical experience.
Coach Fox wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “One reason why I returned to help out the program this season was to work with Eric again… As a Junior, Eric already played the most technically sound water polo of anyone on the team, but he was too young and small to execute well. Now, he is a strong player at both the offensive and defensive ends of the pool and is positioned to grow into contributing to NCAA Division I programs.”
Coach Fox recognizes Osband as a captain with a rare level of experience who sets a standard for his teammates.
“This is my 11th season with the boys water polo team, and Eric is very much a standout. Over those years, he is among no more than half a dozen players whose primary athletic identity is as a water polo player,” said Coach Fox.
Coach Fox continued, “He legitimizes the sport at Andover — and in New England — in rare ways, which I hope will have a lasting influence on the program. I think his peers recognize this.”
Additionally, Osband’s teammates credit his inclusivity and work ethic as two of his most remarkable traits.
Zach Hooven ’22 wrote, “Leadership is one of Eric’s best qualities on the team as captain, as well as his ability to reach others the game… Eric has been able to teach the new players some of the nuances and things needed to know about the game as they transition into the team. He has showed us how to work hard, and how to be successful in the pool and out of it.”
According to Sam Donchi ’20 and Max Hunger ’20, Osband is a consistently focused and encouraging captain.
“As a captain/player, Eric’s best qualities are his resilience, drive, and ability to keep us all focused during practice and games. As one of the most experienced people on the team Eric has always been a leader. This year he is a bit more vocal, especially during games, which is great for the team because it keeps us energized and focused,” wrote Donchi in an email to The Phillipian.
Osband commends his Junior year Captain Nick Faulkner ’16 for his inclusivity and warmth to the new players on the team and says he hopes to emulate this spirit during his captainship.
“[Faulkner] was huge, he was like 6’8” or 6’9”, so he was really menacing, and I was really small, but… he’d always be really nice, let the [Juniors] join him. He’d set a really good example. In the games, he would be really supportive, like if I’d make a mistake, he wouldn’t get super mad at me. He’d be like, ‘It’s okay’… He was a big presence,” said Osband.
According to Osband, he looks to recreate the way Faulkner created a cohesive team.
Osband continued, “During the games, for instance, I definitely try hard to keep that motivation up… Same thing outside of practices; we do a lot of things as a team together. We have team dinner everyday, and then when it’s warmer out, we used to all go out onto the lawn and do something. It’s not just 18 independent people, [we’re] a team.”
According to new team members, Osband has been a welcoming and instructional captain who serves as a role-model for his teammates, regardless of their level of prior experience.
Hank Yang ’22 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Even though he likes to joke around, he’s still firm and upholds the responsibilities of a team captain. To younger players, he makes sure we follow the rules and he’s never shy to criticize us when there’s something we can improve on. I believe I can really improve under his guidance and captaincy.”
According to his teammates, Osband has inspired them and many now hope to model themselves off of him.
In an email to The Phillipian, Ben Cakir ’19 said, “He’s extremely fit, he excels in every position, he has game smarts — definitely the standard that every team member is looking to meet. Eric is cool and collected, [he] never gets angry when an opponent tries to provoke him.”
Wesley Maloney ’22 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “[Osband] and our other captain Neil [Simpson ’19] were so welcoming and helped me learn how to do the drills correctly when I had no idea what I was doing in the pool… He has helped [the new players] so much, correcting us constructively if we are doing something wrong and just talking to us as players and friends rather than as [Juniors]… He sets an example for what I would like to become in the future.”
Hunger added, “[Osband] plays to a level that I don’t think anyone else on the team can play… He just does it to a level that I cannot replicate in the near future. It is crazy what he does… He’ll be like underwater with the ball out… shaking around, twist[ing] around the [opponent], and just toss it in the net as if no one is in front of him. It’s crazy, it’s incredible.”