Monday, January 17, 2022
Being a multi-sport athlete with a multi-sport coach for a father, it is probably not too much of a surprise that Torrey Finn ended up being a coach… and a teacher, guiding young minds literally on and off the field.
As a youth player Finn bounced around a bit as a multi-sport player, but the one constant between them would be her high school, West Valley.
“I played select and premier on River City Falcons, I played a little bit on Elite and Shadow. My favorite memories from my youth soccer career was participating in travel tournaments, swimming in the pool, card games and running around the hotels. It was so fun to have that extra time with my teammates!
“And then in high school I played for West Valley all three years on varsity, and I was a big basketball player. And I ran track as well.”
And one special moment playing for the Eagles came in her first year.
“In high school, the favorite moments were definitely bus rides and going to state my freshman year – we ended up fourth. My high school coach always had a tradition of having the whole team sing Don’t Stop Believing on the bus traveling to a game, we would change the lyrics “West Valley will win and (opponent) will lose.
“To this day I will still catch myself changing the lyrics,” she said with a smile. “I loved every minute of high school soccer, I got to play a lot of my club teammates, so it was fun to battle them!”
There was a lot of fun, but being a multi-sport athlete also came with challenges.
“The biggest lesson that I learned while playing multiple sports and being a student is that academics always came first. My parents made that very clear that I was a student-athlete. I needed to maintain great grades in order to play my sports and if my grades slipped, then I wasn’t able to practice. My parents’ motto was if you don’t practice, you don’t get to play in the game. So at an early age I learned to find that balance, I was and am extremely organized and I like to plan everything out so I know what is expected. I have those same expectations for my tiny humans that I coach.”
And where did that coaching passion come from? Well, you don’t have to look too far.
“My dad was a high school football, girls basketball and golf coach for many years, so I grew up going to his games, practices and being the ball girl for nearly all of his teams. So being around sports is very natural for me.
“Five to six years ago I started helping out in the development program and I just loved being back on the field. Throughout high school soccer was my favorite sport due to my coaches (Shelli Totton and Terra Davidson). I always knew that I wanted to support and share my love of the game like what my coaches did for me.”
But Finn’s passion for education went well beyond the pitch, attending Gonzaga and becoming a teacher.
“The reason I became a teacher is because I am passionate about helping tiny humans. I want them to know that they are worth it. They need structure, routine, love and high expectations. And I love watching that growth – academically and socially – that happens throughout the school year.
“Translated into soccer, my philosophies are similar. I do my best to support my players on and off the field. The growth that happens from the fall season to the spring season is possibly my favorite part – besides my players,” she added with a big smile. “Watching them practice a skill for multiple training sessions and then use it in a game is inspiring to watch.
“The most important aspect to me is teaching tiny humans to be problem solvers, its important for them to have strategies and the right mindset to be able to solve issues and that happens in the classroom and on the soccer field.”
With a career in teaching on the horizon, Finn attended Gonzaga for academics, but that didn’t end her life in athletics… and even found a passion in a new sport.
“I played club soccer for Gonzaga my freshman year and then realized I like doing co-ed intermural sports more. I played kickball, softball, flag football, soccer, basketball as well as my favorite sport – innertube basketball.
“Yes you heard that right. We would all be sitting in our tubes in the water and would have to pass the ball and score in baskets placed at the ends of the pool.
“Sports have always been apart of my life and I wanted to continue to do that in college, but the main focus needed to be on my studies – so intermurals was a great way to continue to do both!”
That dedication has certainly led her down a successful path in the classroom and on the pitch.
And who knows, maybe one day innertube basketball will become all the rage and Finn will transition to coaching tiny humans in that as well.