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Coyle, Quakers have high hopes in Inter-Ac

Quinn Coyle anchors the Penn Charter defense in soccer and handles kickoffs for the football team. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Like his father, Quinn Coyle loves sports.

Unlike his father, his sport of choice in the fall is soccer.

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And it couldn’t be going much better.

Coyle is a senior right back on the Penn Charter High School soccer team, the same school his dad, Tom, is the football coach.

And Coyle does get to spend quality time with dad on football game days and during some practices because he handles kickoff duties for the Quakers football team. But when he’s not playing football, he’s all about soccer.

“A lot of people ask me why I didn’t play football and instead played soccer, and I think it’s because my parents put me in soccer first and I loved it,” said Coyle, who grew up in Mayfair and now lives in Huntingdon Valley. “I loved it right away. My dad, or my mom, they always let me play whatever I wanted. I think I loved soccer because it was fun to run around and get active as a kid.

“Most of my friends loved baseball, that was the sport everyone played, but my favorite was always soccer. I liked it and they let me play it.”

It’s worked out quite well, not only for Coyle, but for the Quakers.

Coyle has helped the Quakers, coached by Bob DiBenedetto, go 5-2 in their nonleague schedule. They’ve knocked off good teams like Roman Catholic, St. Joe’s Prep and Holy Ghost Prep. 

Every game they’ve played thus far has been a challenge, and that’s by design. Penn Charter has to compete in the Inter-Ac, and like every year, the league is loaded with talented teams. 

The tough preseason should pay dividends this week when league play begins for the Quakers.

“It’s tough winning the Inter-Ac, because there’s no playoffs, it goes by whoever wins the league during the season,” Coyle said. “I think the league is going to be really good. It will be challenging. Every game is important. And they’re tough because you play games on Tuesday afternoons after a long ride when you’re on the road. And every team is good.” 

“I think it’s going to be very good. It will be challenging, every game is important. It’s hard to win Tuesday afternoon games after a long drive, but it’s a lot of fun.”

The Quakers should be good and thanks to Coyle and the defense, they should be very stingy when it comes to allowing goals.

Penn Charter has four shutouts to its credit and has yet to allow more than one goal in any game. Both of its defeats were 1-0 setbacks. 

“Our defense is doing really good this year, and we were really good defensively last year,” Coyle said. “We struggled as a team in some games, but they were 1-0 losses. I think we let up the least amount of goals in the Inter-Ac. 

“We’ve played some strong teams already and held them to low totals. We played against some teams with All-Americans and held them to one goal, so that’s good. The defense is good, but it’s the whole team. I like how we’ve played thus far.”

While soccer is his true passion, he’s also liking what he sees from the football team.

Coyle handles kickoffs for the Quakers, and behind his strong leg, he gives Penn Charter a leg up on its opponents. 

“Kicking a football is not at all like soccer,” Coyle said. “Kicking is completely different, you kick off on an elevated tee and it’s a challenge to get used to but it gets easier and easier. To be honest, I kind of taught myself and that’s how I got better. Lots of practice.

“My dad and the coaches give me a spot, they tell me where to put it and I have to put it where they tell me. I do my best there. We have a bunch of types of kicks, we keep it interesting, keep our opponent on their toes.”

Kicking might be different, but his relationship with the coach is exactly the same. Despite having a dad as a coach, he gets treated exactly like his teammates, and that works out great for Coyle.

“I love playing for my dad, but it’s no different than any other coach,” he said. “I don’t see him as my dad on the field, he’s just another coach. I know he’s proud, but he also gets mad if I don’t do what I’m supposed to, just like everyone else. But he’s a great coach.”

While Coyle admires his dad’s vocation, he doesn’t think he’ll be following him in coaching.

“I see the stress my dad goes through, the fall is a difficult season for him,” Coyle said, “He’s so focused on football. I don’t know if I could do it. I give him props, it’s a very difficult thing to do. He’s great at it. I don’t think I could do it like him.”

Coyle, who also plays basketball at Penn Charter, thinks this could be the final year for him playing sports, at least for his school.

“Next year, I want to go to college, but I don’t plan on playing sports,” Coyle said. “I don’t know why, I think it’s time to focus on my life after sports, the important things, setting up for my future career and things like that.

“I’m not sure what I’m going to study, but maybe business or finance. I’m very intrigued by it. I like finding out more about how the economy works and the stock market.”

If this is his swan song, he’s happy he’s doing it at Penn Charter.

“I love playing sports for Penn Charter,” Coyle said. “The best part is the friendships. I’ve made a lot of friends playing soccer, then I go over and have friends on the football team. It’s fun to win with your friends.”

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