Senior, Nia Stallings, walks onto the soccer field on her own. There is nobody else with her; just her, a soccer ball, and a desire to get better and prepare for the Fincke Cup against the Reagan Rattlers.
The 5th annual Fincke Cup is set to kick off Tuesday, February 18th, at the Blossom Athletic Center. The girls varsity match will begin at 5PM followed by the boys varsity match at 7PM. And although there are a lot of games on the Johnson soccer schedule, this game has an extra amount of significance.
“We’ve definitely got a lot more to play for because it’s the Fincke Cup,” Stallings said, “It’s something that’s obviously important to everyone and we’d hate to come up short of the win. We’re going to prepare properly and work hard so we don’t come up short.”
The Fincke Cup began in 2010 after Ian Fincke passed away while longboarding at the age of 16. Ever since this tragedy, the game has been held between the Johnson Jaguars and the Reagan Rattlers in his honor, because Fincke attended both of these schools at one point. Last year, the Johnson mens soccer team fell to the Rattlers by a score of 1-0 in what was a close and hard fought match.
“Last year’s loss was a tough one. It was a hard loss to take because we really felt like we had a good chance to win throughout the whole game,” Junior Aidan Conner said, “I think we’re going to play with extra intensity this time so we can get some revenge and win the Fincke Cup.”
The Johnson girls soccer team came up with a better result last year in the Fincke Cup. The team had a statement win by the score of 4-0 and extended their Cup record to a perfect 2-0.
“Last year we won 4-0 and I was really proud of how we performed,” Stallings, “I even scored a goal in that game too. We played like a team and things went really well for us. It’s going to be hard to play better than that this year, but we’ll try our best and hopefully we’ll get the same results as last year.”
In addition to the game being the Fincke Cup, the Reagan Rattlers are always seen as a team that Johnson must beat, regardless of the sport. From football in the fall to soccer in the winter, the Johnson and Reagan rivalry is always alive and thriving.
“It’s always an extra amount of pressure when we play Reagan,” Stallings said, “They’re our rivals for a reason. We always want to win when we play them and we’re really disappointed whenever we lose to them.”
Another thing about this specific game-that stands out from any other exhibition game-is that one player from each team is awarded scholarship money from “Ian’s Foundation”.
“Any kind of scholarship money for school would be great, but I know that’s not what everyone is playing for,” Conner said, “The Fincke Cup is very important to both teams and we just want to have a good game in honor of Ian.”