In his fourteenth year of playing soccer and fourth year on Andover Boys Soccer, Co-Captain David O’Brien ’21 brings composure, game awareness, and humor to the team and program. According to Adam Hassanein ’22, O’Brien is a relatable member of the team who always supports his teammates in any way he can.
Hassanein said, “David is a natural leader and he’s a funny guy as well. He’s someone that everyone on the team can relate to. At the same time, his play speaks for itself and he’s always one of the first to speak his mind on how we’re playing. Everyone on the team respects him and looks up to him.”
According to O’Brien, his favorite part of soccer and the Andover team is the satisfaction in the competitive environment within the sport at every level.
“I would say the competition is my favorite aspect of the sport. Being able to compete every day is something I have loved for my whole life. Whether it is casual play, practice, or actual games, the competitive nature of the sport is what makes it so enjoyable and rewarding,” said O’Brien.
O’Brien added that Andover Boys Soccer is special because of the connections he has made during his time playing for Andover. He is disappointed he cannot play with the team everyday this year.
“As a [Junior], all of the older kids welcomed me onto the team. Now, being able to do that for younger students this year and last year is super special. It’s always a great group of guys and just getting out [on the field] everyday is a ton of fun and I miss that a lot,” said O’Brien.
Even in the absence of an interscholastic season and uncertainties about what the fall season will look like, O’Brien aims to create an environment where the team can improve and keep its competitive aspect.
O’Brien said, “We want to be getting better, but at the same time it’s kind of tough to accomplish that without a competitive season to work on. I don’t even know if we can scrimmage at practice or how competitive it can get within practice, but hopefully there is still some level of competition within the team during training and other stuff like that.”
O’Brien’s leadership has been unwavering despite the challenges the team has faced as he continues to strengthen connections and lift spirits within the team via group chats and email.
Gio Pagliuca ’23 said, “Throughout the ups and downs of [Covid-19], [O’Brien] has maintained a positive attitude with the rest of his teammates. Even with the unfortunate news of our season being canceled, David was able to stay upbeat and energetic. Whether it is in a group chat, a personal text, email, or in person, David has been able to maintain a positive attitude that has affected us all in a great way. [O’Brien] has proved to be a great captain even though we won’t be having a true season.”
In addition to O’Brien’s role on the team as a supportive friend, his leadership on the field is just as important, according to Pagliuca.
“As far as soccer goes, David’s technical ability makes him a reliable player. His vision and passing skills allow our offense to excel. David’s communication while on the field also makes a big impact on the team. His ability to boost his teammates morale is very important to the team dynamic we strive for,” said Pagliuca.
According to O’Brien, the elimination of the tryout process means a chance for more players to train with the Andover Boys Soccer coaches. He hopes newer players will see how fun the team experience is and that they can experience the depth that Andover soccer provides.
“It’s definitely going to be different. Especially with more of the open training sessions, I’m hoping that younger players and some kids that have previously been on JV can experience the intensity of practice. I want this year to be a good experience for them and I want to make them feel welcome and have a great time,” said O’Brien.