It may as well be Aaron Kovar’s middle name.
If his 3.92 GPA at Garfield High School isn’t indication enough, then his play on the field for the Sounders FC U-18 midfielder certainly is. It has been a big year for Kovar as the left-sided midfielder has been a force with the Sounders U-18s and for the Bulldogs. So much so, that he was named Gatorade Washington Boys Soccer Player of the Year this week.
“It was really cool. I was a bit caught off guard because there are some really good players in the state,” Kovar said.
Many of those players Kovar refers to play with him on the Sounders Academy team, which has been a big factor in his growth over the last season.
As a high school junior, he is developing into one of the top prospects in the Sounders system. He has been called in to the US U-18 National Team and even scored his first goal in a friendly against the Vancouver Whitecaps in February.
It was honor enough for Kovar to play in his country’s kit. It was made even sweeter to score a goal. That feeling was amplified even more because it came against one of Seattle’s biggest rivals.
“That was one of the highlights of my soccer career,” he said. “Hopefully there will be more to come.”
His excitement over scoring against a rival is not mere lip service either. His father consistently brought him to Seattle Sounders matches in the USL at Qwest Field and Starfire, so he is as familiar as anyone with the intensity of the rivalries with the Whitecaps and Portland Timbers. He even patterned his game a bit after former Sounder midfielder Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar and has since turned to Steve Zakuani as someone to watch to pick up pointers.
Playing against MLS opponents was nothing new for Kovar, though. With the Academy team, he often has the opportunity to train with the Sounders FC first team. Even still, the atmosphere in a game, albeit a preseason match for the expansion Whitecaps, was much different.
“I’ve trained with the first team here, but I’ve never played in a game when they really want to get you,” he said. “It’s crazy. It’s so fast and it’s so much more fun. It was also cool to score against our rivals.”
While he is becoming a more complete player on the field, he also strives to be well-rounded off it. A whiz in the classroom, Kovar also strives to better his community. He has even gone beyond the city of Seattle and done service work in Guatemala.
A family friend was going on a service trip to the Central American country to help with children’s dental care in a community. Together, they raised over $4,000 and helped 27 kids with their dental care. They even made some time to play soccer in the city.
“One of the best coaches I’ve ever had, Peter Fewing, told me that to be a soccer player, you have to be a better person in every aspect of your life,” Kovar said. “It was cool to see how much you can help, especially when you see such great contrast to our country.”
The son of a doctor, Kovar hopes to get into the medical field as well if he doesn’t make it as a professional soccer player. However, with his experience with the Sounders FC Academy under Darren Sawatzky and Dick McCormick, he is projecting toward a long pro career.
“It’s good to have a high level of competition around you with kids that understand everything,” Kovar said. “It’s also nice to know that if you do well enough, there is a possibility to play with the first team.”