Lower Merion’s Anthony Haines is Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week

The senior midfielder and captain, who led the Aces (10-4-3 as of Oct. 26) in goals scored and assists, tallied game-winning goals on back-to-back days Oct. 20-21, and those victories helped the Aces cement a PIAA District One playoff spot. Lower Merion boys’ soccer head coach Nico Severini said, “He really leads [our team] every day by example, and with his work ethic. He sets the pace and controls [our] midfield.”

Q: How do you view your on-field leadership role as midfielder (setting the pace, controlling the midfield)?

A: My role is always to put the team first. Since I am an attacking midfielder, the common assumption is that I get to stay forward most of the game. In our philosophy, the strikers and attacking midfielders are the first line of defense and must put the pressure on the opposing defense so the other team has as little time to react as possible. Other than defending, I sort of float around a little on offense. I try and keep the game moving by getting the ball and quickly distributing. I dribble very little because there is not much time to in the high school game. I check to the ball on all parts of the field and even if I don’t receive it, I open up space for players to run in behind me.

Q: Can you give an example of how you have seen fit to assert a leadership role during a game this season?

A: One example of asserting a leadership role was the game against Methacton. We had our backs to the wall a bit and they were out possessing us heavily. I thought we needed a spark, so I went ahead and took the shot. It gave us a 1-0 lead in a very important game that determined our playoff spot heavily. We needed someone to step up and I decided to take that role and have a shot at it.

Q: Your game-winning goals on back-to-back days against Christian Academy and Methacton – can you describe how those two plays unfolded, and your role in them?

A: Andreas Blobel started us off with a beautiful goal in the first half against TCA. We knew it would be a very difficult game if we just sat back and kept the 1-0 lead. We had a long throw in near the corner flag in the second half. Jeremy Hillsberg threw the ball in and it bounced out to Max Knight-Surie, who took a shot that fortunately rocketed right at my feet a little bit inside the box, so I took one touch and finished it in the upper right with my left foot.

In the Methacton game, we had another throw which went down the line to our striker. The ball was bouncing around and then headed high but not long by one of their defenders. I controlled it and shot it off the half volley on about the 20-yard line at the corner of the box and it curved into the top right corner.

Q: Coach Severini emphasized that you are a leader by example who has a great work ethic. Is there a player whose leadership, work ethic and overall game you try to pattern your own after?

A: I’m not the tallest, strongest, or fastest player on the field so I think I resemble someone like Iniesta. He’s not the most vocal leader but he works hard, always puts the team first, and leads by example. He’s small and skilled and gets the ball off his foot quickly and that’s what I try and do.

Q: What to you has been the highlight of your Lower Merion High School soccer career to date? Can you share with us your most vivid memory of that experience?

A: My highlight and most vivid memory has to be my sophomore season even though I was on varsity but didn’t really play much. That season we went undefeated with only two goals against all season long. We had a fantastic roster and all of our seniors were great examples of players to look up to and model the rest of my high school soccer career after.

Q: Who is your favorite soccer player, and why?

A: I find Messi the most entertaining player to watch for sure. Some of the things he can do with the ball are amazing. He is extremely humble even when considered the best player in the world.

Q: What do you think is the strongest part of your game? What part of your game are you particularly working on at this time?

A: I think my passing and free kicks are the best part right now. I try and provide chances for my teammates as much as possible and my corners and set pieces are almost always put in a dangerous place to provide a scoring opportunity. I always need to work on my speed and strength to compete in the high school game and at higher levels.

Q: Who have been your top soccer mentors, and what has been the most important thing each of them taught you?

A: In my younger days, Mark Weinmann was a fantastic coach that always brought out the best in us on game days and technically. Coach Jorge Severini [Nico Severini’s father] always kept a positive attitude and helped everyone improve their game in their most needed aspect. He was always honest with us and that is that best thing you could ask for in a coach. Coach [Nico] Severini has also made all the teams I play for very successful with his great game day preparation and scouting reports. He always shows his intensity and passion for the sport and that passes on to the whole team throughout the season.

Q: Do you plan to play soccer for a college program – what would you like to major in at college? Is there a career field that particularly interests you at the present time? What colleges are among your current favorites?

A: My dad works at Temple University so I fortunately get free tuition there. I would definitely try to roster on their team and they have improved tremendously over these past two seasons and have really become a difficult team to beat in Division 1. I am also considering applying and playing for NYU, UCSD, and Swarthmore. I plan on majoring in Economics.

Q: Do you participate in any extracurricular activities at Lower Merion High School outside of soccer? What sparked your interest in these activities?

A: I am an active volunteer in Alex’s Lemonade Stand. This organization has always been close to me because my friend’s sister died from childhood cancer many years ago. She started a lemonade stand to raise money for childhood cancer research and has raised millions of dollars.

Anthony Haines’ top picks

Book: “The Harry Potter Series is always great.”

TV show: Breaking Bad, The League.

Movie: “I love the Fast and Furious series.”

Pre-game pump-up song: “Anything by Meek Mill, G-Eazy, or Mumford and Sons.”

Athlete: Lionel Messi.


Team: “I love Borussia Dortmund and their high-pressure fast-paced tactics.”

Place to visit: “I have been to Brazil twice (once for soccer training and once for the World Cup) and have absolutely loved it both times.”

(In order for a player to be chosen as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply