It’s not often that you have siblings excelling in the same sport, let alone at the same position. Senior Ellie Burke and Junior Owen Burke have committed themselves to playing soccer for years, both playing Holliston youth travel soccer and club at the highest levels.
As a sophomore, Ellie earned her spot on the varsity roster. She continued to earn increased playing time, resulting in eventually being named senior captain. Ellie is undoubtedly the most reliable teammate on the field; her patience, her astute ability to anticipate the play and her strategic skill set empower her to be pivotal in the team’s success. An important component in part of the winning the 2019 Division ll State Championship, Ellie is a leader on the field and a force to be reckoned with during the 2020 Fall season.
Making the varsity team as a freshman was always a goal for Owen and earning a spot as a starter at center midfield his freshman year. Also playing right wing. Taking the ball and running with it, Owen has grown each year and his team continues to heavily rely on him. While seemingly shy, Owens leadership on the field is evident as he was selected a captain his junior year. Owens’ teammates value his commitment to the game saying he puts in hours of work and is always up for a pickup game at Marshall Field or is already there.
I sat down with Ellie and Owen and asked them a few questions reflecting on their careers as student athletes.
What is your first soccer memory as a youth and in high school?
Youth- My favorite memory has to be the youth K clinic. We played at Damigella field in Holliston. The best part was the team, since many people who were close to me were on it. My brother Owen was my teammate and lots of my family friends.”
High School- “Winning the State Championship was probably my proudest soccer memory and life moment. We went in with the mentality that Winchester was not going to be easy. We also used to play Winchester in youth travel Soccer, and it was always a hard-fought battle. We would also never beat them. Back to the State Championship we were the underdogs. Most people thought we were going to lose. I was nervous going in but knew no matter what last game and the last chance we were going to get. The seniors wanted it so bad so part of it is we wanted to win this for them.”
Youth- “From 4th-6th grade I was on a team with basically my whole friend group. We called this team The Bulldogs. My dad was of course the coach. We always played with intensity and teamwork, while also having such a fun time.”
High school– I have to say freshman year when we lost in the State Semifinals my most memorable high school memory this far. Even though it was extremely bittersweet, it showed me this team always fought hard and offered me great insight to the team as a freshman.”
What similarities and differences do you see in your playing styles?
Ellie- “Since our games are always at the same time and in opposite places, I have never really gotten to watch Owen. We do both have speed, know how to control the midfield, and especially both want what’s best for our team. Oh, and we are both Burkes.”
Owen- “I do tend to use my body when playing soccer more than Ellie, but we are both great passers and Ellie is more defensive than myself.”
For Owen- “What is one thing you value about Ellies playing style”
“Ellie tends to cover a lot of ground when she plays. She also hustles and always gives her best.”
For Ellie- “What do you think is Owens greatest strength on the soccer field?”
“Owen always plays with extreme consistency. He is an overall well-rounded player. Whenever he is on the field, he can almost do anything. “
“Who has better dance moves”
Ellie- “I think the obvious answer is myself. I don’t think there is a lot to be said there. If there was a dance competition, I would come out on top.”
Owen- “I always carry competition on my shoulder. I am way better at dancing when it comes to TikTok. I get way more views than Ellie so the facts prove it all.”
Owen- “Tell us about your off-season routine”
“My off season consists of workouts at Marshall field, club NEFC practices and games, Captain’s practices, summer league games, and workouts with my brother Danny. I do play NEFC with five of my teammates. I think this has helped us on and off the field, since we know how to play with each other and have a strong bond. I also love to play soccer with my dog Teddy. He’s a great defender., so I owe a lot to him for helping me out over the years.”
For Owen- “Do you hope to continue your soccer career post High School if so where”
“Yes, I would love the opportunity to play soccer at the collegiate level. I do not know where yet. Whatever had the best combination of academic and athletic opportunity for me I would jump at it. We will see what happens in the future. I will be very appreciative whatever comes my way.”
For Ellie- “Coming into a highly competitive program how did you make yourself stand out?”
“I tend to make quick decisions on the field which helps the team make quick plays. My speed has always helped me stand out. I also value staying in shape in the offseason, so when soccer season rolls around, I can pay to the best of my abilities”
“Do you think by leaving such a legacy in the soccer program can Danny live up to the expectations”
“We think that Danny has great potential. He does have a lot of expectations coming his way, but he always works very very hard. He is very serious about his future. Danny will definitely make his own mark when he comes to High School.”
Jen and Scott Burke are the parents who created these amazing kids/athletes. I sat down with them to gain additional perspective on how they managed the athletic ability of these two talented soccer players.
For Scott- What motivated you to coach all three of your children’s soccer teams?
“Mainly it was an extra way to spend time with my kids. I wanted to share something I loved with them. I got to know their friends and their families on a deeper level, which have turned into strong friendships. Both Ellie and Owen are way more skilled than I ever was. I really just enjoyed being with them and teaching them the game.”
For Scott- What is your favorite soccer memory of Ellie and Owen?
“For Ellie it has to be her winning the State Championship last year. I was just so proud of her. She played hard and utilized all her skills. Ellie also isn’t naturally physical and in that game she used her physicality and battled hard. For Owen it has to be when he won a state title with his club team in 6th grade. He was just so happy and as a parent that brings you so much joy. We also won a big game against Needham on our Bulldogs team. It was an awesome win and we needed to advance in the Division 1 playoffs.”
For Jen- Looking back could you ever have imagined having such successful children on and off the field?
“I think I really imagined I would just have happy kids. I am just so happy they all found things they love including soccer that have made them so happy and gotten so much out of. There have been so many friendships and memories that they have created. It has most definitely taught them balance and time management. They are always going here, there, and everywhere. It has also taught them a lot of resilience. It has taught them you always have to bounce back.”
For Jen- Did Ellie and Owen ever play each other in the front yard and who would win?
“Ellie and Owen are actually always on the same team. I usually sit soccer games out, but I will challenge them on the tennis and basketball court. It is usually Danny and Scott vs Ellie and Owen in soccer. They have such a strong sibling relationship. Being 14 months apart they tend to always work really well together.”
With such a commitment to year-round soccer how did you navigate getting everyone to their practicing at the right time and the right place every day growing up?
“Carpools Carpools Carpools! We were so fortunate to be able to have such good friends on their teams that were always willing to carpool. Carpools also created so many special memories and connections.”
I decided to also ask the youngest Burke (Danny) what he values most about his siblings.
“I always look forward to working out with Owen in the summer. We head down to Marshall and just play. He always pushes me to be my best. Both Ellie and Owen have been such big role models to me. I want to play multiple sports in high school like my sister Ellie. Ellie being a two-time Captain for both soccer and basketball I look up to her commitment to her sports and I hope I can do the same.”