Benjamin Martin is an EFC alumni currently playing soccer for Pacific University’s men’s team. As a player, Ben was always the first to congratulate a teammate or offer encouragement during a difficult moment in the game. His relentless positive attitude and work ethic defined him and continue to be levers driving his success on and off the field.
EFC: Tell us about what you are currently doing?
BM: I am currently a freshman at Pacific University, with whom I am a part of the men’s soccer team.
EFC: What age did you join Eastside FC and what team were you on?
BM: I joined Eastside when I was in 4th grade, so around nine years old. I have been very fortunate to have played under some top coaches. Specifically U9 through U11 with Coach Kinoshita, 04 Red with Coach Andrew Dortch, Boys 04 DA/ECNL with Coach Tom Bialek, and Boys 03/04 ECNL with Coach Xinho.
EFC: What were some team and personal accomplishments during your time at EFC?
BM: With the Boys 04 DA we had the privilege to play in Idaho for the Far West Regional League tournament. With Coach Bialek we had an undefeated season. I was also a part of EPD for two years and played with Mount Si High School Varsity for three years.
EFC: Please share a favorite memory or two from your time at EFC?
BM: During the second year with Coach Bialek, we had a home game against PAC NW and ended up winning 6-1. Not only was it a great feeling to win by so much against one of our rivals but it also was a turning point for the rest of the season. Another notable memory was a tie away at Crossfire to secure an undefeated league season.Finally, during the season when the Far West Regional League was implemented for a season, we traveled to play Surf, where anything other than a win would send us to Idaho for a tournament. We ended up winning by 1-0, and I remember having one of the best defensive games with my center-back partner.
EFC: What has been the highlight of playing in college thus far?
BM: I just wrapped up my first fall season with Pacific, a tough year with results but it can only get better. One highlight was when I was employed as a winger against Whitworth. In the previous game, I was subbed in as a winger simply for defensive stability but in the following game (Whitworth) I was given the start. Since I have played as a defender my whole life, I couldn’t give up this opportunity to play forward. I had a total of three shots, all miraculously saved by the Whitworth keeper. Given this newfound confidence, in the following game against George Fox, I was able to put the ball in the back of the net.
EFC: How did EFC help prepare you for college and life beyond?
BM: College is an entirely different animal, everything I have experienced is vastly different from anything else. Everything was and is new to me every day. EFC gave me the platform to be able to play in college but also gave me the motivation and confidence to come into a new world and seize it. College soccer tests how much you love the sport and Eastside showed me how special it is.
EFC: Did you learn anything impactful about balance and rest over the course of your athletic career? How has this affected your life and success?
BM: Rest is just as important as training. Properly recovering after a game, practice, or any kind of training is extremely beneficial for you physically and mentally. Balancing soccer and life may be difficult at times but at the end of the day you aren’t just a soccer player, you need to understand how to take care of yourself and others.This will help you grow as an athlete and as an individual.
EFC: What advice would you give to our current Eastside players?
BM: Enjoy the sport to the fullest, love it as much as possible, and continue to improve every day, with and without the ball. I do miss playing for this club, it was a large chunk of my life. But for right now don’t worry about the time you have left, worry about today and maybe even tomorrow. Most importantly, make sure you are playing this sport for the right reasons.
EFC: Do you have any thoughts or ideas that could help us take EFC to another level?
BM: I suppose understanding that every player is different, therefore, communicationis different too. Accepting that isa big step in helping a player improve. I began to appreciate one on one talks with coaches. I would say continue encourage those interactions while offering a positive environment that focuses on improvement as a player and a person since that is vital for the success of the player and the team.
Keep an eye out for Ben at Preston this summer as he is one of our coaching interns! After learning a bit about him here, it’s clear that any Eastside player lucky enough to work with him on the field will gain an incredible role model. As Andrew Dortch shared, “Ben was an extremely thoughtful player and teammate who was eager to give his all for the team and club. When I think about the people our club hopes to produce, I think of Ben as an example.”