Everyone needs a Swiss Army knife. You never know if you’re going to need a little saw, or toothpick, or a bottle opener or corkscrew.
For the Mashpee High School boys’ soccer team, that Swiss Army knife over the past few years has been Ben Kennedy. Need a forward? Put Kennedy up top. We’re down a middie, so let’s give Ben some run there. It took a while, but Kennedy has found his home on defense, and he’s a big reason that the Falcons are very excited to be finally getting the 2020 season off the ground.
Kennedy is one of the Falcons who doesn’t get talked about enough. Over the years he has flown under the radar a bit and just goes about doing his job and doing it well. Coach Ed Furtek said Kennedy is one of the most reliable players he has, and he’s certain Kennedy will play a big role as the team prospers this fall.
The son of Kristin and Jeff Kennedy, a high honors student at Mashpee High, said math is his favorite subject because he loves to crunch numbers and solve problems. His most prized possession is a signed picture of Premier League star Gareth Bale, whom he wrote a letter to in the 5th grade. Ben received the autograph in return when he was in the 8th grade.
Ben’s favorite TV show is Amazon Prime’s “Jack Ryan,” and his favorite movie is the Adam Sandler classic “Grown Ups.” Chance The Rapper is his favorite musical act, and his go-to meal is his father’s smoked brisket with French fries and a Sprite. He said he’d take a toffee tort from Trevi Cafe, where he works part-time, as a dessert.
Ben is one of the captains on this year’s soccer team. He has also earned the Peter Langler Memorial Falcon Award for the soccer team and is an AP Biology Merit Award winner.
How did you get involved with soccer? How much do you enjoy it?
I got involved with soccer from a very young age. Since I was around 4 years old, I was always outside kicking the ball around with my neighbor, and one day my parents decided to sign me up for recreational soccer, and I absolutely loved it. After I found out my love for the game I was constantly asking my dad to come outside and play goalie so I could get shots in.
Your sport has undergone some pivotal changes due to the pandemic for this season. How do you think that they will affect the games, and what has it been like getting used to them?
The changes in the game have certainly been an adjustment, but I think we are all starting to figure it out. As a defender, I have found it difficult to figure out what referees are and aren’t calling when it comes to contact. Sometimes the refs will let things go, while other times they are quick to stop the play. These rule changes definitely call for lots of shots on net, so we are very lucky to have a goalkeeper like Luke (Olson) in net.
While the game has been amended, you are playing your final season. Describe what it was like to get back on the field for practice, and how you feel about being back with your team.
Getting back on the field this season has been a real blessing. For a while, we were all unsure if we were going to be able to get back on the field this season, so even with all of the adjustments I am still amped to be back out on the field for one last high school season. After a disappointing season last year, the boys are hungry, and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish.
What do you consider the highlight of your athletic career so far?
I would have to say the highlight of my athletic career so far would be getting a call-up to play with the varsity team in 9th grade. Seeing Coach Furtek walking to the JV field with a jersey in hand and yelling “Kennedy!” was one of the best moments of my life. Aside from that, scoring my first varsity goal in sophomore year against Middleboro was great as well.
Who is the best teammate you’ve ever played with? What makes that person stand out?
I have played with so many phenomenal players, it is difficult to pick just one. Odane Scale was (and still is) a beast and a great leader on the field, he was always giving me tips on how to improve my game. Dylan Barger was one of the most technically gifted players I have ever played with and a great friend to this day. His knowledge of the game is absolutely incredible.
Do you have any sports-related superstitions? If so, what are they?
Coach Furtek has a tradition of silence on the bus ride up to away games, which I have grown to appreciate. At first I thought it was bizarre, but as the years have gone on, I have found that these rides are super-important. I am constantly running around during the fall, from soccer, to school, to other extracurriculars, so having that quiet time to concentrate and turn on my hype playlist helps me concentrate on the game.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from playing sports?
The most important thing I have learned through sports is to always give 100 percent no matter what. You would much rather look back on a loss knowing that you gave it everything you had, rather than looking back and knowing that there was more you could have done.
Who has been your inspiration?
My biggest inspiration has definitely been my cousin, Evan. He has always been there for me whenever I need some advice and is like a big brother to me.
Is there anyone that you would like to thank?
I would like to thank my parents, Kristin and Jeff, for being my number one supporters and always being there for me, along with my close family for always making an effort to come to my games. I would also like to thank some of my best friends, Willie, Gabe, the Nathans, Caroline, Bridget, Ella, Hannah, Emmy and Julia for always providing me with a good laugh when it’s needed. And finally, I would like to thank Coach Furtek, Coach Lombardi and Coach Langler for taking a chance on an 8th grader and continuing to believe in me through this wild journey of high school. Their guidance has shaped me into the person I am today.
During the quarantine and lull of the past few months, has there been anything that you’ve accomplished that you’re proud of?
During the last few months I have started to pursue cinematography and photography to keep myself busy. I have really learned to enjoy it, and it has quickly become a hobby of mine. I am still definitely a rookie, but I am making some good progress.
What’s the biggest difference between you as a senior and as a freshman? If you could go back, what advice would you give to your freshman self?
I would have to say the biggest difference from me as a freshman to me as a senior would be my leadership skills. When I was in 9th grade I was timid and pretty quiet, but now I pride myself in being more vocal and outgoing. If I could go back and give myself some advice, I would definitely tell myself to not be afraid of the upperclassmen.
What is something about you that people would be surprised to learn?
People would be surprised to learn that I used to be a righty in soccer, but one summer I decided to teach myself how to kick lefty, and now that is my dominant foot.
If you could switch places with one person for a week, who would it be, and what would you want to do?
If I could switch places with someone for a week, it would be my favorite soccer player, Trent Alexander-Arnold. I would definitely want to play a game at Anfield (Liverpool’s stadium) and basically see what it is like to be a professional soccer player. I have always wanted to go to England, so to live there would be pretty cool, too.
Describe your idea of the perfect day.
My idea of the perfect day would start out with a late wakeup call, probably around 10:15. And then from there I would go the beach with some friends and play some spikeball. After that we would go to the soccer fields and kick the ball around for a few hours. And then to end it off, we would have a family fire/pool party in my backyard.
What are your post-high-school plans?
After high school, I plan on attending college to study business with a minor in sports management. I want to continue my soccer career by playing club or intramural, just to keep myself busy and involved in the game.
Where will you be in 10 years, and what will you be doing?
In 10 years I hope to be graduated from school with my MBA and have a job working with a professional sports team. I hopefully will have my own place somewhere in the city.