A competitive drive spurs on many a stellar athlete. That force not only entails besting an opponent but also improving upon your own talents. Vinnie Colon, tri-captain of the Council Rock North soccer team, definitely adheres to this time-tested principle.
Vinnie, who started his soccer career at age 4, sums up his love of soccer saying, “I love the competition. I love the idea of always getting better and improving yourself. I love the camaraderie that comes with being on a team.”
Obviously, Vinnie learned his soccer lessons well. Last year he earned third team All-SOL National honors for his fine play. An excellent header and restarter, he helped the Indians capture their third straight Suburban One League National Division title.
Playing for a perennial power fits Vinnie’s philosophy perfectly. “Playing for Council Rock is great. It really is. We get a lot of support from the school and the coaches. Year in and year out, no matter the skill level and talent, we have guys who have a passion for the game. Everybody plays to win. No matter how deep the squad is, no matter how big or small, everyone is fighting.”
Being top dog in a tough league does bring a certain degree of pressure. Everyone wants to beat the champ. Vinnie keeps it all in perspective. “Of course, it’s added pressure but it’s a good pressure. We feel we want to hold that up. We want to be that guy that everyone wants to beat and that people look to as a tough game. We take pride in that.”
In many ways this year’s team epitomizes the concept of competition. The Indians do not rely on one superstar to carry the burden of success. They have many skilled athletes vying for a spot. The fourteen senior veterans are hard pressed by a bevy of skilled sophomores and juniors.
Vinnie feels that makes the Indians an even stronger foe in the SOL. “I’ve been on varsity for three years and this year’s team is really, really impressive. There are so many good players. We’re use to having a starting 11 but this year I go into every game not knowing who is going to start because we’re so competitive with each other in a good way. Everybody is vying for a spot but we’re all good friends. It’s good to see so many guys working well together. No matter who is on the field we don’t get weaker. As the game goes on and we make subs we still stay strong.”
One aspect of his game Vinnie does not need to improve upon is his leadership ability. An articulate and skilled individual, he relishes his role as one of three team captains. “I take it very seriously and want to be someone all the guys can look up to. Jeremy Smithline is also a great captain as is Jake Block, our junior captain.”
The trio is most versed in the demands of playing on such a strong team. “We have a lot of varsity experience so we try and let the guys know how it’s done and how to act both on the field and off the field. Every now and then we talk to the guys without the coaches but with the coaches’ approval about personal stuff. If a kid gets down on himself, we try to pick him up and move on to the next thing.”
One lesson Vinnie instills in his teammates is the value of selfless play. Though one of the dominant players in the league, he never loses sight of his role as a team member. “I move between striker and center mid. It really goes from game to game depending on where the team needs me and what works best for all the guys.”
Although an early season 2-1 loss to Pennsbury proved disappointing, Vinnie chose to view it as a chance to improve. “That was a very important game. It’s a disappointing loss but I don’t think the team played badly. I think the key was every now and then we had mental lapses. We weren’t focused for a minute or two but once we get that out of our game we’ll be ten times better than we already are and I already think we are strong.”
With mature leadership such as Vinnie displays and a plethora of available team talent, the Indians are, once again, bound to be a force in the Suburban One League. They all have that vital competitive drive.