Beep! Beep! Beep!
Eddie Walsh stretches his arm across his bed to hit his alarm clock. It is 6am on Saturday and the sun shines bright. He lies in bed for an extra minute and then comes to his senses that today is game day. He pulls off the covers and drags his feet to the shower. He eats a slice of toast just so slightly burnt with Jif extra crunchy peanut butter — smeared from left to right. He gives his mom and dad a hug, and they wave him goodbye and good luck from the front door as he heads to his Altima. On his way to Gillette Stadium, Eddie listens to his favorite song, iSpy by Kyle. He arrives and goes through the back entrance and into the locker room. His teammates greet him with high fives as they all walk around wearing head phones and game faces.
Soccer has always been a huge part of Eddie Walsh’s life since he started playing at New England Sports Academy when he was 4 years old. He turned an ordinary hobby that every kid tries when they are young into a future by getting a scholarship to play D1 at Xavier University as a goalkeeper. Eddie told me while outside his locker room just before his practice, “I never knew so much could come out of playing a sport that I played for fun for so many years.” Eddie said this with a look of integrity as if he treats everyday as an opportunity to get better. The work ethic and dedication that Eddie has put in has led him to this point of his life playing professionally.
After being on the NESA team for five years, Eddie’s coach–Tony Marino–left to work for a team known as the Scorpions. Eddie and a few of his teammates on NESA left the program as well to follow their coach who they admired. Eddie says he “admired” and “could relate” to his coach because Tony was so young. In Eddie’s first year and second year of being on the Scorpions, they lost in the state semi-final game and then went on to win back to back state championships the years after that. Walsh also earned MVP the second year they won states after only letting in one goal the entirety of the season–he still holds a record for least goals let in by a keeper in a single season. Being on such a competitive team such as the Scorpions solidified his love for the game, but he wanted more so he advanced on to the youth program of the professional team, the New England Revolution.
Eddie has played for the New England Revolution Youth Team for four years now and just recently has been promoted to practicing with the professional team. He learns a lot from playing side by side with the professional soccer players and uses what they teach him and incorporates it in his own game. This intensity of playing gives Eddie an advantage of playing at a more competitive level. Alex Shterenberg who is teammates with Eddie on the Revolution told me, “His hard work is shown daily at practice.” This emulous attitude that Eddie brings with him to practice, game days and even workouts is why he is so successful with goalkeeping.
It seems like a lot of fun turning your favorite sport into a profession, but it’s not a piece of cake being a D1 athlete. Eddie has multiple extraneous workouts in the offseason and the commitment is at an all time high. Balancing school work and soccer has been very important to Eddie while keeping his grades up, so he could pursue the opportunities that soccer gave him even if that includes doing homework on the bus to a game. Eddie everyday has to wake up and fill out a survey on his phone for the Revs. This survey includes questions asking about his mood, how much he slept, how hydrated he is.
The dedication is very intense at this level, Eddie has to sacrifice his social life for the love of the game. There are many school activities that Eddie has to miss due the traveling of tournaments. Eddie has had to travel to many states all of the United States for tournaments. One of the tournaments he has played in was Generation Adidas in Florida and Texas. This trip is for the best of the best. Some of the best teams include Real Madrid’s Academy, Monterry’s Academy from Mexico, and RiverPlate’s Academy from Germany. These teams are the best in the world and Eddie plays head on with them, competing at such a high level.
“The hardest part of Edward being on such a competitive team,” says Walsh’s mother, Susan, “is him being away so much.” Eddie leaves for weeks at a time while participating in certain tournaments. His friends and family miss him a lot while he is away but they understand the sacrifice pays off because Eddie gets to do what he loves to do, play soccer, at a collegiate level.