By Christian Weaner Eli Newell, Senior
Eli Newell has always been a well-rounded athlete. Throughout his childhood and adolescent years, he has played basketball, football and golf, and he plans to run track this spring, but his skills have never shined brighter than on the soccer pitch this fall. Overcoming an early season struggle with patellar tendinitis in his knee that caused Eli to miss the first few weeks of the season, the senior striker recently led Bonners Ferry to one of its best seasons in school history.
Eli played soccer for the first time at the age of 11 on a rec team but did not play again until his freshman year of high school. He went to football for his sophomore year before returning to soccer last fall, when he scored 16 goals in 21 matches. "The best thing about soccer is that it is still a pretty new sport for me, and there is still a lot for me to get better at," Eli noted.
Despite missing the first two matches of the year, Eli had 26 goals during the regular season this fall, and on October 11, he scored the game-winning goal in Bonners Ferry's 1-0 District I Championship victory.
"As a striker, he is relentless, good for not only a few rapid offensive runs but for a sustained effort of pushing the opponent's defense and finding ways to get to the goal and follow up with the score," Badgers Head Coach Paul Bonnell explained. In addition to his on-field prowess, Eli has grown as a leader amongst his teammates and sets an example for others to follow.
"He is a respectful and coachable athlete, always willing to work hard in practice," Paul added. "He leads quietly and by example and encourages his teammates to pull their weight (play up to their ability and with confidence) and play their best."
Eli credits the hard work that he and his teammates put in during the offseason as the catalyst for the Badgers' success this season, and he also acknowledges the support of his coaches and family not only this season but throughout his high school career.
"During my time in sports at BFHS, I think I have developed a better work ethic," Eli said. "I think that my brothers and dad have influenced my growth the most because of their experience in athletics."
Outside of school and sports, Eli loves outdoor activities like skating, swimming, snowboarding, biking, flips and digging. He plans to attend college and travel after graduating in the spring.