Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Sports Person of the Week

Donovan Always Looking to Help Others on the Soccer Field

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Bryce Donovan went out of his way to help his teammates as a senior captain for the Yellowjackets’ boys’ soccer squad. Bryce also lends a hand by officiating games and coaching in East Haven’s Youth Soccer program. Photo courtesy of Bryce Donovan

Bryce Donovan went out of his way to help his teammates as a senior captain for the Yellowjackets’ boys’ soccer squad. Bryce also lends a hand by officiating games and coaching in East Haven’s Youth Soccer program. (Photo courtesy of Bryce Donovan )

Bryce Donovan recently completed his career as a member of the boys’ soccer team at East Haven High School. A senior captain, Bryce lined up wherever the Yellowjackets needed him to play on the field this year. Bryce’s primary position was outside midfielder, but he also helped out his squad by playing some defense for the Easties.

Assistant coach Chris Rapuano feels that Bryce displayed great leadership traits and served as an excellent mentor for the younger guys on the team throughout the season. Rapuano says that Bryce has a knack for setting up his teammates to succeed.

“His role was to make runs on and off the ball to support the strikers and relay balls into a threatening position in order for us to score against the opponent,” says Rapuano. “Bryce really worked on the width of the field, stretching the opposing team in order to create gaps for offensive dominance through the midfield. Bryce was helping as a defender earlier in the season, but we needed his runs and through balls to feed the strikers up top.”

Bryce enjoyed patrolling the midfield for East Haven. His favorite part of playing the position was that he got to experience both the offensive and defensive aspects of soccer.

“The midfield is more about opening up a little more and making runs to get open for passes or distributing balls to my strikers,” Bryce says. “There’s also that defensive aspect, because you have to get back to help your defenders and support your goalie.”

Bryce also enjoyed serving as a captain for the Yellowjackets this season. A referee in the town’s Youth Soccer program, Bryce used his leadership role to develop a rapport with the officials during games, while also making sure that the Easties always stayed positive on the pitch.

“Being a captain was great. My job was, being a referee, I know how to talk to the refs the best,” says Bryce, who’s also a distance runner for East Haven’s indoor and outdoor track squads. “I’m the one that tries to keep the team on the positive aspect of things.”

Bryce loves referring East Haven’s Youth Soccer games. He feels that it’s a great way to stay involved with the sport.

“It gives me another look at the game from another angle. It gives me an opportunity to see it from a different point of view you wouldn’t get if you were just playing,” he says. “It also gives me an opportunity to coach the little kids, too. You can teach them things as you ref, and you’re still learning yourself while refereeing.”

Bryce typically officiates for the travel teams in East Haven, but he also spends time coaching the younger kids in the town’s Youth Soccer league. The experience provides Bryce with another avenue to broaden both his soccer knowledge and his passion for the sport.

“It’s a great experience coaching. You see all these kids running around and having fun. It’s a blast. I teach them what I already know, and I’m still learning as I’m coaching, because I see things that they’re doing, and I’m like, ‘I would’ve done it like this,’” Bryce says. “I help them on basic little things, and it brings me back to the basics and gives me yet another angle to view the game and learn from.”


PJ Foti covers sports for East Haven and North Branford for Zip06. Email PJ at pj.foti@shorepublishing.com.

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