Ethan Bartlow is dribbling in his dad’s footsteps onto an NCAA Division I soccer squad.
The Overlake School senior’s father, Phil, who taught him all about the game, passed away from cancer in September 2016. Ethan credits his dad for instilling values in him that he’s grateful for and will take with him to the University of Washington squad next season.
“He always tried to push me in the right direction and pushed me to be stronger than I was,” said Ethan, whose dad played at Santa Clara University and won a state title at Cascade High in Everett.
Ethan, who plays for the nationally fifth-ranked Crossfire Premier U19 squad, used to attack the goal as a forward, but now — like his dad did — helps protect the net as a defender.
“He taught me that everyone has to work hard defensively,” Ethan said. “It stayed with me and it’s one of the reasons who I am today.”
Soccer runs even deeper in the Bartlow family and mom Amy plays a role in Ethan’s first soccer memory. At age 4 or 5, his Amy-coached squad wasn’t the best around and won just one game, Ethan said with a laugh.
“She wants to take credit for launching my career,” he joked.
Ethan — who participated in a monthlong US National Team training camp last year and played games in Florida, Missouri, Jamaica and Honduras — committed to UW because he likes the players, the team dynamic and the coaching style of Jamie Clark, who he’s known personally for a few years. Ethan is also thrilled to be staying in the area so his family can watch him compete in home matches.
“Ethan is one of the best five defenders in this country for the class of 2018. He has all the tools to be a top college player, and then continue to play for a long time after,” Clark said. “He is dominant defensively and has the competitive drive and determination that it takes to shut down big-time attacking players.”
Clark added that Ethan is a technical defender with a stellar passing range, and will immediately compete for a starting spot and be an integral part of the UW program.
Crossfire coach Bernie James noted that Ethan is a solid, all-around athlete, hard worker and good teammate.
“(He) could very well be a professional player if he keeps it up,” James added.
After joining Crossfire and initially playing a supporting role, Ethan said he was bent on getting better to earn a starting position.
Words of wisdom from his dad and James have stuck with him: “Talent can only get you so far. If you don’t put in the work, you’ll go nowhere,” Ethan said.
University of Washington, here he comes.