Soccer a tradition for Finneyfrocks

Posted: September 04, 2014

When Michaela Finneyfrock was younger, she looked a lot like her mother, Diane. As she got older and her hair changed to a sandier blond, however, the midfielder for the Council Rock North girls' soccer team started to resemble her father, Rich.

There's more to that resemblance than hair color and a sarcastic sense of humor, however.

All it takes is to watch the Indians senior with the ball at her feet. Those technical skills and control also come from her father, a former professional and amateur player who has been head coach at Villa Joseph Marie since 2004.

He taught her those moves when he started coaching her club team, FC Bucks. A decade later, the 17-year-old credits her father's focus on foot skills for her poise and composure on the ball today.

"She has a tremendous work rate, which adds to her talent, her skill on the ball," C.R. North coach Ginna Lewing said. "She has a vision that I think most kids at this age don't necessarily have, in that she can see angles and through balls from a lot of different places on the field.

"She is, I think, one of the best in the conference, if not in the district," Lewing added.

The soccer education started early for Michaela, who remembers playing on the field with her father and oldest sister, Alyssa, 29, and trying to keep up.

Her schooling continued when Rich Finneyfrock took over the Jems, since Michaela often rode the bus with the team, even traveling to Hershey for the state championships.

"It's what I do, and it is what our family knows," Rich Finneyfrock said. "Like many soccer families, if they aren't playing, they are watching."

Michaela is one of five Finneyfrock children, all of whom have developed some kind of passion for athletics. Alyssa played for Appalachian State, and Bryan, 25, switched from soccer to lacrosse in his teens. Then there's Julia, 21 - she's the dancer in the family - and Sean, 14, who loves rooting for Manchester City.

Villa Joseph Marie has won three consecutive PIAA District 1 Class AA titles, reaching the Class AA state semifinals last year. With a strong class coming back, the perennial favorite in the Catholic Academies has a bull's-eye on its back, as usual.

For Michaela Finneyfrock, this season is one with "great potential," she said. The St. Joseph's recruit, who thrives on setting up teammates but doesn't bypass opportunities to finish a play herself, is excited about the possibilities her final high school season brings.

Soccer occupies many conversations at the dinner table in the Finneyfrock household.

Those talks sometimes turn into scouting reports, when the Jems and Indians face the same opponents during a season.

But the soccer doesn't stop there.

The Finneyfrocks' home in Newtown, Bucks County, has a lined "passing" field in the backyard, where they often practice with 12-foot-by-6-foot goals and play different games.

The family's favorite competition out back is soccer tennis, a game in which Rich says he'll challenge anyone because he knows how to play to his strengths. Michaela and Sean sometimes face off against their dad together in the game - in which competitors have to kick the ball over a net - or the three will play a round-robin style in which the winner stays on the field.

Michaela acknowledges that her father still wins most of the time but also says she knows how to beat him: Exploit his bad knee.

A cerebral player, she knows how to play to her strengths, too.

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