New Jersey Youth Soccer Provides Scholarships
New Jersey Youth Soccer recently hosted its 32nd Annual NJYS Awards Dinner presented by RWJBarnabas Health, where many players, coaches and members of the soccer community were celebrated at the Pines Manor in Edison, N.J. Included in the ceremony was the announcement of the 2019 Brett Fenster Memorial Scholarship recipients, with Bryn Radvanski and Ethan Walk receiving the honors.
This scholarship was created in memory of Brett Fenster, who played soccer from the age of five until he graduated from high school. He began participating in the Recreation Program in West Windsor before advancing to play travel and high school soccer. His love for the sport soon flourished, along with his interest in the arts and humanity. Brett passed away in 2010 at the age of 23, at which time the scholarship was enacted.
Bryn Radvanski has always been an extremely active athlete. Two years ago, a normal Saturday was going to play out the same way that so many before it had done. That day, she had a track meet in the morning and would then hurry to Connecticut to play with her travel soccer team over the next couple of days. She felt slightly sick during that time, but nothing seemed too off base. Unbeknownst to her, she was suffering from pneumonia and would have to rush to the emergency room two days after she returned home from that trip. After checking into the hospital, she spent the next week in the Intensive Care Unit.
The illness caused Radvanski to miss some time away from sports, but she has thankfully made a full recovery since that rather traumatic week. She is now a three-sport athlete in high school who competes in Varsity Soccer, Varsity Basketball and Varsity Track. This fall, she looks to continue her soccer career by playing at Winthrop University.
“It is such an honor to win this scholarship,” said Radvanski. “I had pneumonia during my freshman year and was in the ICU for a couple of weeks. I endured many months of no activity at all, and it took a long time to get myself back into shape and where I used to be.”
Over a 17-month time frame, Ethan Walk suffered multiple concussions that forced him to stop playing soccer for more than two years. Being just 12-years-old at the time, he began to feel a bit lost since he was unable to play the game he loved. Additionally, he had many hardships in the classroom due to the symptoms he suffered.
Following his completion of eighth grade, Walk was finally able to return to the soccer field. To him, it felt like the most incredible gift he could have ever received. The self-confidence that developed as a result helped him both personally and in school as well. His grades improved, and he was able to become a solid contributor on both his high school and travel teams. Now, as college approaches this fall, Walk will attend Monmouth University and hopes to pursue a degree in either Sports Broadcasting or Sports Journalism.
“This scholarship means a lot to me because I was able to overcome so many obstacles,” said Walk. “I suffered four concussions in a span of 17 months, and I lost 2 1/2 years of soccer. Now, as I head to college, I plan to play club or intramural soccer just to keep my feet going.”