Rhea Kohli

Staff Writer

“My favorite part of competing is the mutual respect between competitors,” reveals Senior Luke Finkielstein. “You know you both are just working hard and trying to be the best versions of yourselves.” Co-captain of the varsity soccer team, and captain of the basketball team, Luke Finkielstein is a crucial part of our athletics here at High School North. 

Finkielstein’s parents signed him up for a soccer daycare camp at the ripe age of three and it was “love at first sight”. He explains that the skills came easy to him, and it was motivation for him to keep getting better. As captain of two of our school sports, and captain of his travel soccer team, it’s apparent that Luke’s leadership qualities shine bright. 

Finkielstein engraved his name in WWP history by being made captain of the varsity soccer team as early as sophomore year. “Being captain is an honor,” Finkielstein states, “It means that you’re the leader of the team, and more responsibilities come with that.” There is no doubt that Luke is the right man for the job. He embodies the 3 C’s that come with being a captain: caring, courageous, and consistent. An honorable mention goes to the word competitive.

Finkielstein conveys that his favorite part about playing soccer is the competitive aspect. “It’s not fun if kids aren’t trying, ” explains Finkielstein. “I live for competition, even if I’m losing.” Seeing others being competitive brings out an incredibly fun and playful side to his personality. In general, playing soccer has always been a great experience for him. Finkielstein especially enjoys playing for his travel soccer team, PDA Modric. “Since it’s year-round, I can understand how it could be overwhelming, but I still love it,” he describes, “You know, it’s a place to disconnect from school and everything else and just grind. It’s been particularly fun since I’m on a winning team.”

Being a student-athlete can be both extremely rewarding, and challenging. Balancing each title is a heavy weight to lift. “Time management is key,” Finkielstein notes, “I keep a list on my phone of everything I need to do: soccer wise, school wise, and socially.” Keeping track of these events and staying organized has tremendously helped Luke these last few years. He goes on to mention that by teaching him certain characteristics like teamwork and self-discipline, being an athlete also makes him a better student. 

As of right now, Luke is working on being recruited to play soccer for college. There’s no dream school in mind, but he notes that there’s a list. “It’s never been my goal to go pro. In my head I always thought about playing college, and recreationally after that,” he remarks. Finkielstein would love to play competitively for as long as he can. 

As an avid Manchester United fan, Finkielstein’s favorite soccer player is long-time legend, Wayne Rooney. Though most of his hobbies are dominated by sports, he loves to listen to music and is hoping to get back into reading. Perhaps, the most interesting part about Finkielstein isn’t that he was nominated for Goal of the Year by Jersey Sports Zone or the fact he scored a header in the first match he played after his 5-month concussion. It’s that his most beloved movie is Disney’s The Princess Bride. It’s clear there are many more layers to Finkielstein than the eye can see. 

Co-captaining alongside Luke this year are senior Arnav Nair and junior Rishi Jayakumar. He shares the reins with two people he trusts very much. Finkielstein and Nair have known each other since they were just 8 years old. “We haven’t always played together. In fact, sometimes we played against each other for our clubs,” Finkielstein recalls. Over the years, both seniors have cultivated a fierce relationship. As for Jayakumar, they met on the middle-school team, and although they have not known each other for as long, they share a strong bond. “He’s a great guy, and I know the team will be in good hands when I leave,” comments Finkielstein. Finkielstein also gives a special shout-out to his friend Malwandla Baloyi, who’s been essential to the success of the team.    

The varsity boys soccer team has had a rollercoaster of a season. As of October 16th, the team has a record of 6-6. They were down at the beginning, but have made an incredible comeback. “Moments of succeeding start feelings of overwhelming joy and passion,” Finkielstein expresses. “I feel at home when I play. I’ve been doing it so long I don’t really know what it’s like to not be playing.” Scoring goals left and right, Luke is at the front of the battlefield and is leading our knights to victory. 

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