Ed Watson Day

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There may still be over a month left in the Illinois high school girls soccer season but that didn’t stop the Naperville Central girls soccer team from honoring a long-time veteran. Check out the latest Feature Story, sponsored by Edward Medical Group.

“It’s overwhelming to see players from our first team from 1993 all the way up to my daughter’s class which is 15. Just really yeah I’m just speechless.”

April 16th, 2022, will be remembered as Ed Watson Day, where the Redhawks celebrated their hall of fame coach before he hangs up the whistle after this season. Ed Watson was honored before the Redhawks game against Downers Grove South, and it ended with a 3-0 victory for the Red and White. Many familiar faces were in attendance including his daughter Grace, a 2015 graduate that played for the Redhawks during her time in the NC building. Along with his daughter and many players past and present, all agree that Coach Ed Watson always brought hard work, fun, and enjoyment to the soccer pitch.

“a lot of people don’t understand this about they think that he kinda has this hard exterior and he does but he really is a big softy he has a really big heart his family his wife Barb Daughter Grace and for all of the girls he’s always actively trying to do what is best for the community and always actively trying to do what’s best for the team”

“It’s amazing that we just keep naming name after name after name after name, well this players gotta be in, nope but what about this player? We’ve had so many players here at Naperville Central and I’ve been fortunate. Just very proud of all of the people we had the chance to be able to work with.”

Watson has been involved a lot throughout his 33-year campaign at Naperville Central. Not only did he coach soccer on the girls side, but he also coached the boys along with being an assistant for the boys basketball team, and even coached softball. As soccer obviously made up most of Watson’s tenure, there was actually a different sport that he aspired to coach while growing up.

“When I was younger I always had the vision that I wanted to be a varsity basketball coach at some point in time when I got the varsity I realized that I didn’t need to be basketball I just needed it to be an opportunity to run a program put a good spin on the program.”

And it was a spin that turned into amazing accomplishments. As a coach on the soccer pitch, he earned over 400 career wins, numerous regional titles, along with multiple DVC championships, including capturing the conference crown in 2021. He also led Central to appearances in 1993 and 94 state championships, where the Hawks finished as runner up in both games. Once he steps off the field for the last time there is more, he knows he has achieved more than just winning.

“I certainly enjoy when we’re in the moment when the game is live but I also really enjoy the training piece when you notice that a kid has made an adjustment to the game for the better. Maybe it’s because you gave them something to think about those are the things from a coaching perspective that I will miss.”

The Hawks are off to a red-hot start in 2022 and hope to end Coach Watson’s coaching run on a high note.

For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Patrick Codo.