Former Hun Star Care Brings Unselfishness As He Joins Princeton Men's Soccer Squad
By Bill Alden
A definite pattern emerged over the last few years at the intrasquad games held during practices for the Hun School boys' soccer team the side that had Matt Care would usually come out on top.
As a defensive midfielder, Care didn't provide goals to lead his teams to victory. Instead, the unselfish Care influenced the results with pinpoint passing and competitive fire.
"I really hate to lose," said Care, recalling those practice sessions. "I try to do the best possible at whatever I am doing. I don't like to dribble. I like to move the ball around. If everybody is doing that, it makes it hard on the other team."
This week, Care brings his will to win to the Princeton University men's soccer team as he begins his college career with preseason practice.
Care knows that he faces plenty of challenges in the months ahead. "I'm thrilled and nervous," said Care, a resident of Newtown, Pa. "It's something new. I have to prove myself to a new team. It's going to be a tough year academically and athletically."
In Care's view, the busy life he led at Hun will help him thrive at Princeton. "When I was balancing club soccer, high school soccer, and a lot of homework, I learned that I had to be making the best of every moment," explained Care.
Care applied that attitude to Hun's daily practice sessions. "I learned from Coach [Chris] Kingston that it's important that everybody works hard," said Care, whose outstanding work in the midfield last fall helped Hun go 16-4 and advance to the finals of both the Mercer County Tournament and the state Prep A tournament.
"A couple of guys and myself really went hard everyday at practice and that made the other guys step up. When teammates see someone working like crazy who never gives up, it rubs off and they do the same."
This summer, Care has had the chance to work hard with one of his future Princeton teammates as he played with fellow Princeton recruit Pat Farrell on the PSC Coppas club soccer team.
"We worked well together," said Care, referring to Farrell, a star defender. "He's a center back so he plays right behind me."
The pairing of Care and Farrell worked well as the club advanced to the Regional 1 semifinals this summer.
"It was an awesome experience," said Care. "When you play against good people you have to play better to keep up."
In order to keep up at Princeton, Care knows he will have to muscle up. "The biggest challenge in moving from the club level to D-1 is physical," explained Care, who has been lifting weights two-to-three times a week in addition to undergoing rigorous aerobic workouts. "There is a lot more bumping and tackling."
For Care, who started playing soccer before he got to kindergarten, hitting the pitch this week at Princeton will give him the chance to positively influence another side.
"Soccer exemplifies my personality," asserted Care. "It is a team sport. It doesn't help to be selfish. You win with everybody working together."
With Care working hard in the midfield, Princeton figures to be on the winning side on a frequent basis.