Saint John's Soccer is Rooted in Family

Tim Leonard ’83 is part of the Johnnie soccer family and has supported the Set the Wall project for the soccer program at Saint John’s.  Set the Wall involves an individual commitment of $5,000 to support both Haws Field and the program, and donors at this level have the option of an engraved plaque with their family information on it, set into the wall surrounding the soccer pitch.  The field was dedicated in 2013 in honor of retired coach Pat Haws '72 and the Haws family, and today it’s considered one of the best pitches in the Midwest.

Tim played for Pat Haws in the 79-82 seasons on teams that won two conference championships and placed second twice.  He greatly enjoyed his experience at Saint John’s and made some lifelong friends through the soccer program.  In a recent conversation with Tim I learned he has continued to play soccer with many of his former teammates and currently plays on a men’s team with several Johnnies.  “They are like family,” he said, “and we still keep in touch today.”

I asked what led him to stay connected to Saint John’s all these years.  “Actually,” he replied, “I did not stay closely connected.  After graduation I was busy working on my career and then started a family.  Life gets busy.  When things started to settle down and my daughter Quinn began looking at colleges in 2013, Saint Ben’s was one of her top choices.  Coming up to visit the school allowed me to reconnect with Saint John’s.”  Quinn eventually chose Saint Ben’s and will be a senior this fall.

When I asked Tim what led him to support the Set the Wall project he said:  “After getting reconnected and having Quinn up at Saint Ben’s it was a no-brainer.  It’s cool when Quinn goes to a game and she can see her family name on the plaque at Haws Field.  You never know, maybe my son Simon will end up at Saint John’s as well.  One day our grandchildren may even attend Saint John’s or Saint Ben’s, and they could go down to the field and see that their grandfather played soccer at Saint John’s.”

Current coach John Haws '99 treats his team as a family as well.  Their team motto is “Our family vs. their team.”  The team’s core values are at the heart of what it means to treat each other like family.  John certainly knows about family and Saint John’s.  He’s the only coach in the history of Saint John’s to be a third generation coach.  His grandfather Terry began coaching at Saint John’s in the fall of 1967 and his father Pat began in the summer of 1973.  Pat coached soccer for 32 years, and John succeeded him as head coach in 2010.  The Haws family now has 50 years of coaching tradition!

This commitment to coaching and quality facilities and the generosity of alumni have set a strong family foundation for Johnnie soccer. As a result, today’s student athletes have every opportunity for success.