Solon senior soccer player Ethan Berkovitz is having a season to remember.
The center-midfielder has scored 10 goals in the first nine matches, double of what he scored all last season.
That helped him to be named the Cleveland Jewish News-Buffalo Wild Wings Warrensville Heights Player of the Week.
“To me, that’s a big thing,” he said. “It’s a big improvement from where I was last season.”
How does Berkovitz account for this success?
“I’ve been working really hard ever since last season ended,” he said. “I’ve been working extremely hard to be a better player for my teammates and coaches and everybody. Just hard work paying off now.
“Last season was a little bit disappointing for all of us from where we got knocked out in the playoffs. And being a junior last year I knew I only had one more shot left to finish things how I wanted, finish all that unfinished business that we had left off from last year. I think all the guys have been working really hard to get back to where we were last year and improve on that because we’re capable of it, but we know it’s not going to be easy unless we all work really hard together.”
The Comets were 5-4 overall after nine matches, including 2-2 in the Greater Cleveland Conference. The schedule includes some of the top teams in the state and the country.
“We’re playing a pretty difficult schedule this year, but so far we’re doing OK and we’re trying to get on track,” Berkovitz said. “Individually, it’s been my best season yet.”
Coach Ryan Greenhill has seen steady improvement in Berkovitz during his four years.
“My first year was also his freshman year, so I’ve had the opportunity to watch him grow and develop, not only as a player and a leader for our program, but as a person,” he said. “He’s someone who loves the sport of soccer, really passionate about soccer, and he has a lot of involvement in the Arthritis Foundation, so he’s somebody who, once he puts his mind to something and finds his passion, he’s all in.
“When we need a big moment, he’s stepped up. And then also from a leadership role, he’s one of our captains. He’s setting the foundation for what it means to be in our program and to be successful on and off the field. He’s taken that leadership role to a whole other level and you can see that in his play where he’s more confident, looking to get more guys on the ball. He’s had a really tremendous season for us.”
Berkovitz, a member of The Shul in Pepper Pike, is a junior ambassador for the Arthritis Foundation. Every year, he goes to Washington, D.C., to meet with officials in an attempt to explain new health care bills and to suggest ideas to assist those living with arthritis.
“I can really at this point only use it as motivation to make me a better player and a better person,” Berkovitz said. “I don’t feel all the more painful symptons in what I do. I got really good at working through my pain and fighting through any adversity that comes across. I can use that in so many ways now on and off the field, since obviously within every game you’re going to face adversity and within every day, you’re going to face some sort of adversity. I just feel I’m pretty good at dealing with that and not letting things pain me as much.”