John Keaveny: A Dependable Coach and Firefighter
ABOVE: John Keaveny and the GVS team celebrate their AAIS championship. Photo credit: Brain Harlin
From Westchester, New York, and graduate of the Merchant Marine academy, John Keaveny paced back and forth on the sidelines of the soccer field. Only one minute remained in the game, the score was tied, and his players have become tired; they have been running for one hundred minutes due to the game’s extended time. After the ball bounced by the goal, a Trinity player was able to score. Because
of this error, the opponent advanced to the semi-finals in the state tournament. The members of the Packer girls varsity soccer team collapsed to the ground in tears. Their long season has ended in a loss, and they are heartbroken.
However, John, the three year head coach of Packer’s girls varsity soccer team, approached his team in a collected manner and spoke of his admiration for the girls and how well their season went. Of course, he is heavy hearted about the loss too, but he was able to turn the outcome of the match into something positive, referencing how well the team had done throughout the season. He tried to put things that may be perceived negative into positive light, and said:
“I was upset for a few seconds. That’s everyone’s first reaction. But I think that the biggest thing is to always look at the extraordinary things about the season and the game and to always uplift the players. The main thing to me was was to tell all of my players of how much they’ve accomplished this season.” That moment in time was a true representation of John’s character.
On top of his work at Packer, John works daily at Station Engine 74 in the New York City Fire Department, and, in addition to his standard hours, works two, sometimes three 24 hour shifts every week. Although John is often forced to arrive to games late due to his work at the firehouse, he always does his best to get there on time. The fact that he hurries from profession to profession shows his true dedication to both the firehouse as well as the soccer team.
Natasha Brecht, (‘17), is a senior and captain who has been on the girls varsity soccer team for four years and knows how hard John works. Referencing John’s work as a firefighter, she said, “I think that these factors have made me understand him more as a person and where he comes from on a day to day basis; he’s always late to our games because he’s coming from work at the firehouse.”
When Natasha was a freshman on the soccer team, John was the assistant coach, but worked just as hard as he does now as a head coach. “I have seen John grow as a coach in that he has been given a lot more responsibility over the last couple years.” After previously referencing his hard work as an assistant coach to take on more duties, she said that “John continues to do a lot of research for new drills.”
Everyone who knows Keaveny knows that he works with passion and dedication. Not only is Keaveny a coach, but also a role model and mentor. He says that, underlying the general duties of a coach, his favorite part of being a coach is “the ability to watch kids grow to an adult… that’s always the nicest thing. To be able to watch these kids go from the ninth grade to the twelfth grade, I try to help them on the way.”