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Best of SNO

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Nick Savelli is the backbone of Explorer Soccer

Many who wander the halls of Hudson High School know of Nick Savelli.

A senior at the high school, Savelli is a classmate and a good friend to many Hudson students. He loves doing housework, watching the Browns and Cavaliers, exercising in the gym at school and working hard on his schoolwork.

Along with being a student coach, Savelli works part-time stocking goods at Ace Hardware. He also has a brother named Anthony who is a freshman and shares a close relationship with him. While many recognize him as just another student in the classroom or another person in Hudson, he is much more than that.

Savelli is the team manager of the Hudson Explorers Varsity Soccer Team and has been for three years. He works alongside Head Coach Steve Knapp and Assistant Coaches Corey Barnes, Dan Zemanski and John Congrove on the sidelines. As many of the team would put it, he is the number one hype man for the team.

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“Nick always keeps a positive attitude on the sideline while making sure his players play to their best,” says senior captain Gavin Mertes.

Since his sophomore year, Savelli has been on the sidelines coaching and cheering the boys on and has kept a good track record while at it. In the two years (not including this year) as team manager, Hudson has gone above and beyond, being a regional semi-finalist in 2021 and a regional finalist in 2022.

Although the seasons prior went well, Savelli is hungry for more and believes in the talent and cohesiveness the team presents this year.

“I believe our team will go to states this year,” says Savelli when asked about how he feels the team will do when the postseason arrives.

While the belief may be seen as ambitious by some, his hunger for excellence helps fuel the team to get to a place unseen by the Explorers soccer program since 2002.

While some may assume he has always had a passion for soccer, that is not the case. Going into his sophomore year, Savelli had never played or watched soccer before becoming the manager.

“Mr. Barnes asked me if I wanted to become team manager at the beginning of my 10th grade year,” says Savelli.

Without any experience, Savelli took a gamble. He bought into the sport and became the full-time team manager.

Savelli has taken his role to heart, dedicating his time to understanding the game and being a presence on the sidelines. “What I am looking forward to most this year is putting in the hard work and helping the team succeed.”

His dedication to the program is unparalleled. He is present at every practice and every game, rarely missing anything related to the program. “He is constantly trying to improve as a coach and a player, whether it be giving guidance to the team on what he believes could be improved on or playing rondos and working on his first touch,” says Mertes.

His efforts at practice help push the players and as a result, push him. “Nick is at practice every day working on his own skills. He gets in our passing drills and shooting drills and is always trying to develop as a player,” commented senior captain Luke Bleifer.

This type of passion and commitment to improve has helped develop a winning culture at the high school. In the last three years (2021, 2022, 2023), Hudson has had a record of 38-11-5 with a 0.750 win percentage under Savelli as manager. It is stats like these that further back up the standards that Team Manager Savelli likes to maintain.

Along with winning, Savelli enjoys plenty of other memorable experiences that come with being the team manager. From the bus rides to singing music to the relationships he has built, Savelli has enjoyed it all. But beyond the day to day, he will miss the people. “Looking back, I’ll miss Barnes and all the teammates I have become friends with.”

Savelli has cherished the memories created with players on and off the field. His favorite player, he said, was junior captain Sam Robledo. Savelli said that he enjoys the time he spends with Robledo on the bus and loves singing all the songs that get played on the speaker with Sam and the rest of the team. “One of my favorite parts of game day is coming home after the games and singing ‘Ain’t no Mountain High Enough’ as we enter the parking lot.”

Savelli cherishes every game day as if it is his last. He enjoys every part of Hudson Soccer and is thankful for the opportunity he has been given to be the team manager of the team. His final advice for players coming into the program and for all students in general is “to enjoy the moments you have during high school and to work hard while you do it.”

Savelli’s hardworking attitude has helped push the team to new limits and has left a legacy at Hudson High School. He has become a manager that will be impossible to replace but will forever be remembered.

This story was originally published on The Explorer on September 25, 2023.