Scholars in the Spotlight: Soccer player "from the womb" Matt O'Neil wins P.E. award

Matt O’Neil has been playing soccer ever since he can remember.  
Matt O'Neil is the male physical education Burrowes Scholar

"I’ve been kicking since the womb," he says, chuckling.

He prides himself on being humble and having a good sense of humor, something Ms. Faith Cowell, physical education teacher and O'Neil's sponsor, appreciates.

"Playing with people who may not have a high level of skill or the desire to play at a competitive level can be frustrating," she says. "This is what separates Matt from other physically gifted students; he understands what sportsmanship is - he realizes that how the game is played is just as important as whether it is won or lost."

For his part, O'Neil loves the concept of being part of a team.

"There’s something about team sports I really like. We’re all really close and have a good time when playing," he explains. 

As O'Neil awaits a full scholarship to a D1 school for soccer, he plans to keep playing for school. He also plays other sports such as swimming, tennis, and frisbee. 
Matt O'Neil jostles for position during a fall soccer game
Photo by Lauren Mast, Director of Sports Photography & Boys Soccer Reporter
O'Neil cites Mr. Albanese for being his mentor and his one true inspiration. He considers Albanese to be a driving force in his life, as well as his many supportive friends. 

O'Neil thinks it's important to have a good balance between school and sports. He likes how they balance each other out, and how sports are a great way to end the day after sitting in class. He is honored to be a Burrowes scholar, especially for gym, and congratulates all the scholars as well for being recognized for doing what they love.  

This is the eighth article in an series featuring each of the high school recipients of the Burrowes Scholar award, which is given to one student in each subject area who demonstrates academic excellence in that subject. For more articles, visit this page. The series is coordinated by senior staff writer Mackenzie Miller, a three-time Burrowes Scholar herself.

--Kate Schultheis, Reporter

Edited: BP

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