Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Kona’s Franke leading the way on and off the Soccer Field

Soccer fun for Eric Franke

Soccer fun for Eric Franke

One of the most remarkable coaches ever to head a football team was Lou Holtz who holds the NCAA record in leading six different programs to bowl appearances and the only coach to guide four different programs to the final top 20 rankings.

    Holtz has won multiple honors as Coach of the Year and has demonstrated his capability to motivate young minds.

    My favorite Lou Holtz quote is, “Ability is what you’re capable of doing.  Motivation determines what you do.  Attitude determines how well you do it.”

    Three separate concepts, but when all three are put together you get one heck of a team.

    Former Kealakehe High School soccer star, now turned coach, Eric Franke is well on his way to putting these three concepts together.

    Franke had the luxury of having a father who is an athlete.  “My dad played football in high school on the mainland and he ran track in high school and college at the University of Illinois,” Franke said.

    At age six Franke’s mother signed him up for AYSO in Kona and the youngster blossomed.  “From my very first soccer game my competitive nature grew,” he said.

    During those growing years Franke played in a variety of pick-up games in multiple sports which included football to roller hockey.

    In middle school it was Little League baseball and recreational basketball, but once Franke entered high school the entire focus went to soccer.

    Franke played for Makua Lani during his freshman and junior years before joining the Waverider squad in his senior year.

   “I played both center defense and forward and I was team co-captain at Kealakehe,” he said.  In his senior season with the Waveriders Franke was named the Big Island Interscholastic Federation Player of the Year and was a second team All-State selection.

   Three of his sisters also played soccer for Kealakehe and one of them is currently playing at the semi professional level for a team in Colorado.

   Having three athletically talented sisters involved with soccer may have helped him to secure his job as the Head Girls Varsity coach for Kealakehe’s soccer program.  He also coaches AYSO in the 14-19 age group for both boys and girls.

Eric Franke
Eric Franke

“I like soccer primarily for its creative elements.  Soccer has its fair share of structure and order just like other sports, but in soccer we don’t stop to decide on which play to make.  It’s continuous and fluid,” Franke said.

    The 27 year old works as a videographer, cameraman, and video editor for Big Island Television (Channel 9 for Oceanic cable subscribers) and spends most of his free time coaching and playing soccer.

   Franke is active in the Big Island Men’s League which gives him non-stop action on the field of 90 to 120 minutes of play twice per week.

   “I like to have as much of a competitive edge as I can and as I become older I realize that I can no longer rely on natural athleticism and I’ve become more reliant on extra training and fitness to perform well,” Franke said.

   Franke is constantly moving and getting involved in his extracurricular activities.  “I am heavily involved in coaching soccer at the youth level.  I find my players respond more favorably to the conditioning exercises I have them do if they see me conditioning as well,” he said.

    Much of Franke’s training in done in conjunction with the players and teams that he coaches.  “I train with them during practice.  We do mostly cardio type stuff, distance running as well as sprints.  We keep it as soccer specific as possible.”

    Depending on the season Franke will either spend an additional two to three days training with his players.  In the evening he will train on his own for at least an hour, least five times a week, to maintain his fitness level.

    As an athlete Franke avoids processed sugars and fast foods.  “I try to eat home cooked meals whenever I can.  I don’t really diet, but I try to be aware of what I eat and I try to choose something healthy when I have that option,” he said.

    For Franke, soccer is the game that brings out his passion, his competitive spirit.  “When you are playing, the game around you is always changing, requiring constant and critical creative thinking in order to find the most effective space on the field to be in at any given moment.

   But you can’t just use creativity.  You also need skill, because even if you are in the right place at the right time, you still need to be able to execute the play.  Even though it requires a lot of thought, soccer also requires a lot of skill.  The interplay between the two is what makes it challenging,” Franke said.

   Lou Holtz used football as his means of communicating motivation to his players.  For Franke it is European football, or soccer, as his instrument of teaching skills to the youth of Kona.

    The key to doing well in any activity, of course, comes from your own desire and attitude towards the game.

    “Find something that you enjoy doing.  Make sure it is physically challenging in some way and then push yourself to do it as intensely and strenuously as possible.  Good results only come from hard work.  I know it is a grossly overused cliché, but it really is true that you will only get as much out of something as you put into it,” Franke said.


September 21, 2009 Posted by | Profiles, Soccer | , , , , | 1 Comment