Sports Person of the Week
Falasco Makes His Mark as a Leader in the Midfield
Justin Falasco led the North Haven boys’ soccer squad as a senior captain midfielder during the 2020 fall season. (Photo courtesy of Justin Falasco )
Justin Falasco started playing soccer at age seven and developed an increasing love for the sport while competing in various leagues. Justin’s passion for soccer continued to flourish at North Haven High School, where he recently finished his senior season as both a starting midfielder and a captain.
Justin’s first experience in soccer came in North Haven’s town league after his parents signed him up to play. Justin admits that he was sort of going through the motions at first, but after playing for a U-10 travel team a few years later, he really started to enjoy soccer. After playing in middle school and with South Central Premier, Justin knew that he wanted to suit up for North Haven when he got to the high school.
“The people around me, the sport in general—I just realized I want to keep doing this,” says Justin. “As I played more games and had more experience, I just kept having fun. I decided that I should play in high school. What’s the point of stopping? I’m enjoying what I’m doing.”
Justin was a member of the JV team in the North Haven boys’ soccer program during his freshman season, playing the defender position. Justin’s experience as a freshman helped him learn about the speed of high school soccer and showed him what was required to thrive as a varsity player.
“It was a big transition. In middle school, the competition wasn’t as nearly as competitive. It’s a whole different environment,” Justin says. “You could be playing with kids that are three years older than you. It was hard coming from the middle school, playing every minute, every game, to sometimes playing like five minutes a game as a freshman.”
Prior to his sophomore year, Justin spent the summer working harder than ever to prepare himself for the varsity level. Justin made the jump to varsity as a sophomore and continued playing defense for North Haven.
After helping North Haven earn a 1-0 win versus Crosby in the first round of the Class L State Tournament, Justin’s sophomore season came to an end when the team took a 2-0 loss to Daniel Hand in the second round of the bracket. Despite the defeat, Justin says the game against eventual champion Hand was the most memorable moment of his career at North Haven.
“Daniel Hand has always been our archrival, even though we haven’t beaten them. They’re the best team in the state in our school size. We nearly beat them on that day,” says Justin. “We played incredibly. Their goalie had some amazing saves. On our way off the field, I just heard one of the parents say, ‘This is a good North Haven team.’ It was a cool to hear a parent from a school like Daniel Hand say that.”
Justin was slated to transition into the midfield for North Haven in his junior year, but ultimately stayed on defense due to team needs because of injuries. However, as a senior this year, Justin made the full-time move to the midfield position and played there for the duration of the campaign.
“I’ve always had good vision on the field. When I was younger, I just played defense, because I was a pretty tall kid,” Justin says. “Coaches kind of just stuck me back there and I went with it, but people started to notice I was pretty talented at passing. I just put myself at midfield during drills and scrimmages, and coaches started to notice.”
Justin was named one of North Haven’s captains alongside fellow senior Eduardo Cienfuegos de Paz for the 2020 season. While coming up through the program, Justin paid close attention to the captains and the way that they approached the role. When it was his time to wear the captain’s hat, Justin felt confident that all of his hard work had him well-prepared to be a leader.
“As a captain, I knew I had a great responsibility,” says Justin. “The captains the three previous years have all done such a good job. I had a big responsibility on my hands. With the work I’ve put in over the years, it was all amounting to something.”
Justin plans on majoring in logistics in college after he graduates from North Haven. While he’s hoping to play soccer and has been in contact with some coaches, Justin is still waiting to see how COVID-19 affects any potential seasons before he makes any decisions.
While it took him some time to truly appreciate playing soccer, Justin is happy that he stuck with the sport. Along the way, Justin created a special kind of chemistry with his North Haven teammates. As he nears the end of high school, Justin feels grateful for the opportunity to make his mark on the soccer field in his hometown.
“It has been an honor to be a soccer player at North Haven,” Justin says. “I’ve seen players in the past that have blossomed, and I think I have done the same. I hope I can leave a legacy as big as they have.”