To kick off the soccer season, Cade Fink ’21 stopped 17 straight shots in the first two games, both shutouts. He won the MIAC Men’s Athlete of the Week with his performances against No. 3-ranked University of Chicago and unranked Washington University in St. Louis.
Fink’s experience as an athlete started when he was five. He started playing sports mainly because his father is a big fan. He started playing goalkeeper in 5th grade, and it turned out to be an enjoyable experience. In his 7th grade year, he grew six or seven inches and continued goalkeeping.
“There are just a few goalkeeper coaches [that helped me a lot],” Fink said. “The amount of fun you have in the training is one of the big things that g[o]t me going.”
As Fink grew as a goalkeeper, there were some huge figures in the soccer world that inspired him. He believes that the best goalkeepers are those who make the fewest mistakes. He admires Victor Valdez, a former goalkeeper for Barcelona.
“Even if [the rest of Barcelona] made a mistake, which is not often, the guy is always there. Victor Valdez is unreal,” Fink said.
It is interesting to see how the young Valdez fan became a game-changer for the Macalester Men’s soccer team. Fink was smiling as he reflected on the UChicago game, especially the magical moment when a shot hit the crossbar and bounced right back to his arms.
“It was just as surprising to me as to anyone else,” Fink said. “After [the ball hit the crossbar and bounced back to me], I had the feeling that we [would] be just fine in that game. You definitely go to your post and thank it afterward.”
However, before his game-changing performance on Sept. 3, Fink spent his sophomore year on the bench, witnessing his peers on the pitch. Talking about that difficult time for him, Fink’s time on the bench was very different than starting.
“When you are not playing, it is way more mental,” Fink said. “You are just trying to keep yourself focused on getting better and better. Like going to training and being ready to play, and not having your mind on other things. Keep yourself narrowed to be focused on the team.”
This semester, he has started and played in every single minute for the team. Playing so many games has caused him to see game time as about getting better when things are going well and staying focused if he makes a mistake. Although two years on the bench is a long time, Fink learned a lot.
“Going through those two years was so beneficial,” he said. “It was a long time, it was hard, but if I ha[d]n’t gone through that, I wouldn’t be here, playing well. It is important.”
Off the pitch, Fink is a focused student with a geology major and physics minor. The biggest thing on his calendar is to study away in New Zealand in the spring semester.
“There is a field research class in New Zealand that is just unreal,” Fink said. “It is about how to do research, how to take samples. New Zealand is the coolest place in the world for geology. Once I [study away], I can get a better view of what I want to do in the future.”
Fink describes being on the Macalester Men’s Soccer team as a valuable experience. He describes his time with the team using these words: “Family, hilarious, consistent.”
Memories that will stay with Fink for a long time are often the small moments.
“Sometimes you are having a bad day, you go to Café Mac and you meet a lot of people, and suddenly your mood had changed. Smaller moments are more important, more substantial.”