While growing up in a soccer family makes the odds of finding a passion for the game quite inevitable under most circumstances, Anton Easterbrook quickly found his own appreciation for the game and all its more nuanced facets.
“My parents actually met playing soccer so ever since I was a kid its has been something we have always shared as a family,” said Easterbrook. “Growing up there was always a ball around, and ever since I was young I have loved the level of creativity soccer allows for as well as all the lessons about life it has taught me.”
Growing up idolizing the play of legends such as Patrick Vieira and Andres Iniesta, Easterbrook has found his niche at holding midfield playing for Cameron MacDonald, who is also the head coach of the Kitsap Puma’s professional side.
“Playing for Cammy the past few years has been great,” said Easterbrook. “The main thing that I like about him as a coach is he is really good at interacting with players and it is easy to understand what he wants from us on the field. It also really helps that we get to see him coach for the pro side too and watch a great local example of a high level of play that we can model our own style after.”
Easterbrook’s consistent play in the midfield for the Kitsap Alliance U18 side has helped them to become one of the elite clubs in the highest division of the Regional Club League. Just a few weekends ago they knocked off top clubs such as Three Rivers Soccer Club by a score of 3-0 and then went on to defeat Seattle United 1-0 the following day.
“XXX,” said MacDonald. “XXX”
Normally wins over the top three and four ranked clubs in the entire state of Washington would be prize enough on its own but it was especially sweet for Easterbrook as Seattle United was his former club.
“After I moved to Bainbridge Island from Seattle when I was six and as I became more interested in soccer I went to play for Seattle United in pursuit of a higher standard of play,” said Easterbrook. “But to do that I had to take the ferry to commute to practice two to three times a week for training, which was tough for my parents especially.”
However once the level of play began to improve in Kitsap, it provided Easterbrook a local option that facilitated a comparable competitive environment for player development.
“Back then James Ritchie was the coach for my age group and he reached out to me and asked me to come train with his team,” said Easterbrook. “I really enjoyed the atmosphere at that training and felt it would be a great place for me to play.”
While Easterbrook has come a long ways in his player development since he first discovered his passion for the game as a young kid knocking the ball around with his family, what he truly appreciates most about soccer are all the lessons it has taught him.
“Two years ago I broke my wrist in a qualification game for nationals and even though we ended up qualifying I couldn’t play when nationals came around,” said Easterbrook. “While that was very difficult to deal with, that experience helped me to appreciate moments like when my high school team won districts in penalty kicks even more.”
As the end of his club soccer career winds down, Easterbrook plans to continue to pursue his passion for soccer at the collegiate level. However, his primary focus remains his education.
“I have been doing the whole recruiting process over the past year but right now my focus is more academic” said Easterbrook. “Soccer will always be important to me but I would prefer to go to a top school academically where I can pursue a degree in business.”
Although he is yet to commit to any school and is still in the application process, he has interest in attending and competing on the soccer field for prestigious schools such as Claremont McKenna, Babson, Bentley, the University of Puget Sound and Whitman.
As Easterbrook embarks on a new adventure in whatever city he decides to attend college he is sure to rely on the lessons he learned playing soccer in the Kitsap area to continue to succeed in school, on the pitch and ultimately in business.
“Playing soccer has taught me a lot about working with people, bonding through a common goal and succeeding through cooperation,” said Easterbrook. “Two things that Cammy always tells our team and that especially resonate with me are that to be successful you always need to work hard and bring a healthy, positive attitude to everything you do.”
Be sure to support Easterbrook and the rest of his Kitsap Alliance U18 teammates as they look to finish their club soccer careers in memorable fashion!