Earning a total of three goals and three assists last season, Co-Captain Daniel Cho ’21 will be leading the Andover Boys Soccer team remotely this year. Cho was first introduced to soccer during recess in first grade and joined Andover’s team as a new Lower. His position as center attacking midfielder allows him to be an important playmaker, connecting the defense and offense. According to Cho, this creative freedom is what sparked his interest in soccer from the beginning.
“There’s a creative aspect on the field where you’re not necessarily following a play, and you get to come up with that play. You’re the one who dictates what happens on the field. That kind of freedom has always intrigued me,” he said.
In order to strengthen the team unity, Cho believes that spending time with his team outside of practice helps Andover play better on the field.
Cho said, “I’d say being a team sport, it’s really important that everyone that’s on the field supports each other, and that’s important so that everyone feels free to take the necessary risks and play their best. That kind of internal support that the team provides is what I was really going for had we had a season this year, but unfortunately, that’s not the case.”
Along with respect and kindness, Cho leads by example and tries to foster a motivated and determined team culture, according to teammate Alex Fung ’21.
Fung said, “[Cho] sets a really good example for the younger kids on the team. He’s a genuinely nice kid, really respectful to everybody. You’re never going to catch him being a bad influence or picking on anyone on the team or anyone on campus in general.”
According to Head Coach Edwin Escobar, Cho also leads the team with compassion and encourages communication.
Coach Escobar said, “I think his greatest strength [is] his moral compass. I think Daniel, he always wants to operate from the right place in his heart. He always figured out to communicate with his teammates so that you know that there’s a right way to do things, and he always acts accordingly. He’s always respectful. And whenever he needs to talk to a teammate [or] an adult, he’s one that can communicate incredibly well.”
According to Cho, he looks to his parents and the 2019 Andover Boys Soccer Co-Captain David Wang ’20 for inspiration as a leader.
“[My parents are] the people who’ve been the leaders in my life for so long. The way that they foster community and trust within our family, which is in a sense a team, [is what] I’ve applied a lot of to my experience with the soccer team. Also, one of the kids who graduated last year, [Wang], was the captain, and we were pretty tight and we trained a lot. In terms of what I did in the spring as [Co-Captain] and what I do for the rest of the year, I talked a lot about it to him.”
Although Cho is not on campus for the fall, he makes sure to stay connected with his team. Coach Escobar recognizes that his ability to create a sense of family on the team is especially valuable during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cho said, “Given that we don’t have an actual season, the best I can do as a captain is to foster the following year’s group of leaders, and I think we have a pretty good, decent pool of kids currently on varsity and on JV who have a lot of potential to take it far in the following years.”
Coach Escobar said, “He has been really good about [considering] how to best help the team through this crisis. And I don’t think he’s going to stop doing that, and I think one way of doing that is by continuing to take part in our Zoom conferences, but also by continuing to work on projects like such as the website that he created to offer tips and words of encouragement for players that are returning, that are here on campus, or players that may want to join our program in the future.”
Cho hopes that Andover will be able to play together sometime in the spring, but in the meantime, he is doing his best to support the team remotely.