Sports Person of the Week
Vest is Vital in the Tigers’ Midfield
Junior Lucas Vest is helping to facilitate the offense on the Hand boys’ soccer team as a center midfielder for the Tigers. (Photo courtesy of Lucas Vest )
Lucas Vest has been an integral part of the Daniel Hand boys’ soccer squad since he was a freshman. Now a junior, Lucas and the Tigers have continually impressed by winning two state championships during his time on the team and then starting off the 2020 season with a record of 2-0.
Lucas’s father, Kevin Vest, practically had Lucas playing soccer from the time that he could walk. Lucas quickly found his love for the game with his dad alongside him every step of the way.
“I’ve been playing soccer for as long as I can remember,” says Lucas. “My dad has definitely been a great influence over me and is the one who got me interested in the sport. We would pass the ball around all the time, and he would take me to clinics.”
Hand had already won two state titles before Lucas joined the team. The Tigers went on to notch the Class L four-peat by claiming the state crown in Lucas’s freshman and sophomore seasons. Lucas credits much of the Tigers’ success to their team-oriented style of play.
“My favorite part of soccer is the fact that the entire team has to play well in order to win, and the game could be a win or loss based on just one small mistake,” Lucas says. “It brings more excitement to the game.”
Lucas has been working with Hand Head Coach Greg Cumpstone for the past several years, starting with the Connecticut Rush soccer squad when he was in middle school. Lucas and Cumpstone have developed a great relationship through the years, and Lucas credits his coach for making him the player that he is today.
“I’ve known coach since I was 11 years old. He was my Rush coach in 6th grade, so we have been playing together for a long time,” says Lucas. “He’s sort of like a long-lost father that I can always count on to help me with my game or any problems on and off the field.”
Cumpstone says he knew that Lucas was going to make a significant impact for Hand the second that he Lucas step on the field in his freshman campaign.
“Lucas has been a key member of the squad since he arrived to us as a freshman. He is someone we saw straight away as the future leader of the program, and was the only freshman called up to varsity in his first year with us,” Cumpstone says. “Lucas has continued to improve and develop in the last two years and, after nailing down a starting position last year, this year his influence on the team is massive.”
Lucas is a starter at the center-midfielder position for the Tigers. Lucas is always looking to improve his game and finds it beneficial to study film of himself playing on the pitch.
“To improve my game, I watch game film of myself to critique my in-game decisions,” says Lucas. “On off days, I go to the turf to work on any areas of my game where I’m lacking. I think it’s important to be a well-rounded player, so I don’t like having any aspects of my game lacking.”
Coach Cumpstone views Lucas as one of the most technically skilled players on the Tigers’ roster. Cumpstone has seen Lucas become a better midfielder with each season and praises his ability for threading crisp passes to the team’s forwards.
“Lucas is two-footed, and he reads the game very well. Recently, he has married those qualities with improvement on the physical side of the game, which has made him a more complete midfielder,” says Cumpstone. “Lucas is one of the creative hubs of the team. He is not necessarily tasked with finishing attacks, but more in setting them up. On a tactical level, he works well with those around him and understands the positional rotation the team utilizes to free up space.”
Off the field, Lucas’s hobbies include skiing in Vermont and making music.
“When I’m off the pitch, I make music, whether it’s teaching myself the piano or music production,” Lucas says. “I’ve recently been super into music production, which is making beats and sending them out to rappers for album placements.”
Even though that CIAC isn’t hosting its traditional playoff format this fall, Lucas still has high hopes about what the Tigers can achieve during the 2020 season.
“My expectation for the season is for us to do even better than last year,” says Lucas. “There’s a lot of new lads on the team this year that are really strong, and I can’t wait to win games with them at my side, and can’t wait to see what the rest of the season brings.”