Playing any kind of competitive sport comes with various obstacles, challenges and situations that call for an athlete and his team to learn how to adapt. It’s in situations such as these where those players who develop the skill to adapt quickly find themselves at a considerable advantage. In Region 9, our Cedar Redman have had to learn such a skill, and junior Ethan Fletcher recognizes the benefit and makes the best of it in every way he can.
The fact that Ethan stands a 6’3” can also be an asset, intimidating your opponent before the game beings is always helpful. While on the basketball court height is common, it’s something you don’t see too often on the soccer field. Nonetheless, Ethan loves the game and will use every advantage he can acquire to reach his goals. “Depending on the weather we have to play indoors. It snows quite a bit here and so when it does we move practice inside and work a whole lot on our footwork,” says Ethan. “We do play on a smaller field when inside so we have to learn to spread out more when we get on the field but one of the greatest benefits for us insider is the amount of time we can spend working on our foot work in tight spaces and improve that way.”
Ethan loves the game. While he does play basketball for the Redman as well, Ethan looks every opportunity to enjoy himself and his surroundings while simultaneously looking for ways to improve, “Whenever I can get some type of condition in then that is good too,” says Ethan.
His love of the outdoors and the physical activities he participates in provides both the sought after entertainment as well as added conditioning through the offseason. “During the summer we do a lot of river running. We go up to Jackson and run the Snake River every year, which is a lot of fun. I also like to waterski and wakeboard. We go to Lake Powel quite a bit which is fun. I love being outdoors too.”
Soccer is not a seasonal sport for the Redmen. He makes it a point to compete in tournaments right after school is over. Summer and Fall competition has offered the opportunity to travel some, but more importantly the opportunity to stay focused in his pursuit of his goal on the field. “I want to get better and hope to win a championship before I graduate high school,” states Fletcher. With two seasons left, the clock is ticking for Ethan and he understands the challenge to win will be great. You don’t just walk your way into a championship, and you almost definitely are not given the trophy for showing up, you have to fight and earn it.
“The team has always had really great chemistry together …Cedar has a really great soccer program, it has really become like family.” – Angie Fletcher
The Redmen soccer team has had a taste of state and what it will take to bring that championship trophy home. In 2014 the Redmen played for their first state championship in soccer but fell to Dixie. “That game for me was really fun, I got a chance to play with my cousin [Noah Hill] on the team,” states Ethan. “Losing was tough but the excitement, the atmosphere, playing at Rio Tinto Stadium, it was really fun.”
“Watching them both play was quite electric actually,” remembers Angie, Ethan’s mom. “There were all kinds of people that came up to support the school, students, teachers, leaders. It was great to see all the support from the student body there as well. It felt like one of the most exciting moments. To be able to see our son step out and wave to the crowd when they called his name as a starting player on a team competing for a state championship, it’s quite exciting.”
Chad Fletcher, Ethan’s father proudly remembers the beginnings of his son’s high school soccer career, “He started every game as a freshman and it was great to see him work so hard, especially at state.”
While the excitement of a state championship is always fond to remember Chad also recalls witnessing a difficult moment unfold during his son’s sophomore year. “Last year in a game against Canyon View, Ethan scored a couple goals which was nice but later in the game he hit by another player and was later diagnosed with a concussion so he couldn’t play final games of the season. It was difficult because I know that he really wanted to be a part of the games to help his team win.”
“You know one thing that is really nice about this team,” shared Angie. “When all these new freshmen were coming into high school and playing with all these older guys for the first time, it was nice to see the seniors take all the younger guys in under their wings. The team has always had really great chemistry together which makes it easier for the new group of kids every year. Cedar has a really great soccer program, it has really become like family.”
Soccer’s popularity in Cedar is indeed growing. At one point there were 16 competitive soccer teams out of Cedar. With the wide range of talent in Cedar it is no wonder as to why.
Putting in the necessary time to improve in sports, as in life, can determine the level of success an individual can attain. Getting up early, making every moment of practice count, doing all the drills as though the game counted on it, these are all traits of a champion. Leaving no room for excuses and working to become your absolute best makes all the difference. This is precisely what makes Angie proud of her son, she sees a young man willing to do what is necessary. “His passion for the game and being so self motivated to go at it, I am impressed with who he is. His study habits are the same as well. He wants to do whatever it takes to get it done and go it. It’s is a bit surprising because he seems so much more laid back but he is very self motivated.”
“I know we are getting better as a team. We are a young team. Getting to the playoffs this year and then to the state championships, getting back to Rio Tinto, and hopefully winning it the following year is definitely the goal,” says Ethan.
Angie recalls, “When Ethan was in 5th grade, he and his Cedar City Soccer team had the opportunity to attend a Real Salt Lake game and walk the Real Players out of the tunnel before the game. Ethan walked and held hands with Beckerman. Quite an honor, and something he will never forget.” • HSSI