Athletics at Emerson may be one big metaphorical family, but for women’s soccer head coach David Suvak, that just became literal. His son, James, joined the men’s soccer team this semester.
James Suvak, a freshman marketing communication major, said the athletic program, the major, and the campus’ surroundings played key roles in his choice to enroll at Emerson.
“Honestly, my dad being here and being in the city is what really got me, since there’s so much to do,” he said. “Being able to play and study marketing were also big reasons why I came here.”
When James Suvak was playing at Winchester High School as a senior last fall, his dad didn't see him play that often. But now that they share a pitch, David Suvak makes it to most of his son’s matches.
“I get to watch him play a bunch of games, which was different from his senior year when I only got to see him play twice,” he said.
David Suvak, who played at Boston College in the mid-1980s, has been coaching for most of the past two decades at many levels of competitive play. James Suvak credits his father with getting him ready for collegiate ball.
“He was my coach for the past three years and he really pushed me to get into shape and start working toward playing college-level soccer, which is totally different from high school and club soccer,” James Suvak said. “It’s a lot more time-consuming—it’s like a job almost—and he really pushed me to keep going and keep working.”
James Suvak has appeared in every game that Emerson has played during his freshman campaign for new head coach Bryan Harkin. Harkin said he has thoroughly enjoyed having Suvak on his squad this fall.
“He’s been a breath of fresh air ever since he came in,” Harkin said. “Obviously, I think it’s a bit challenging for him with the expectations of his dad being the coach for the women's, but he’s done a great job.”
James Suvak is part of a young Lions squad that features 15 underclassmen on a roster of 25, but that doesn’t mean anything, according to Harkin.
“College is the kind of game where your team is constantly changing,” he said. “You have freshmen coming in, seniors going out. The guys that have come in have adapted pretty quickly. Obviously, it’s a challenge when you have so many young guys and a lot to learn, but I think so far they’ve learned quickly and they’re working hard. That’s all you can ask for.”
Over Suvak’s first 11 games, including two starts, he has registered one assist, which came against Lesley on Sept. 27 in a 2-1 loss. Despite the limited action so far, Harkin has been impressed with Suvak’s play this the season.
“At first, I was a little worried about my fitness, but coach Harkin has really pushed me and the other guys to get our fitness up,” James Suvak said. “He’s pushed us and has tried to make us the best we can be. It’s been a pretty easy adjustment, actually.”
David Suvak coached his son previously at the club level, but said he doesn’t treat his son any differently than other players at Emerson. Suvak ultimately believes that the way that he treated and trained his son helped him turn into a solid player.
“I never treated him unfairly and I never treated him special because he was my son,” he said. “I treated him as a player to the best of my ability. That’s hard to do as a father, but when we were in the car or we were at home, he was my son, and when we were on the field, we were doing soccer.”