By Kari Ashworth, Lauryn Jodush, Socrates Maura, and Maricruz Reyes
Some people are natural-born leaders, but others come by it through hard work. The College at Brockport Men’s Soccer Team Captain Chris Kinsley is a key example of this.
Kinsley was born in Washingtonville, a small town about an hour away from New York City. Kinsley grew up as the middle child of Frank and Donna, with sisters Jackie and Jenny on each side. It is a sports-loving family. Jackie, the oldest, was a swimmer and captain of her teams in high-school and Jenny played varsity soccer at SUNY Oneonta. It’s the type of family that inspired Chris to focus on sports.
“I think my mom mostly led me into the sports world, but my dad was fully supportive of it,” Kinsley said. “My dad played football and my mom played softball and basketball in 70s-something Bronx, where she became player of the year. My mom, to this day, is still a die-hard Yankees, Knicks, Giants and Rangers fan.”
Televised sports constantly played in the Kinsley household. Kinsley remembers the sound of the TV tuning into sports as he went to bed as a kid. This presence helped weave sports into his life at a young age, until he found himself competing in three types of sports; and found that he needed to strictly focus on one.
“My dad and I sat down and talked about which sport I loved the most, and which sport I could see myself having a future with,” Kinsley said. “It was soccer.”
Kinsley is an education major at the college, with a total of 48 games completed in his college career. He is a liaison between his team and advisors and is often the first person they go to with personal or academic concerns, or the one who is always reminding them to meet and get academic work done.
“He’s definitely the middle man,” teammate AJ Sinclair said. “If we have problems or questions like, let’s say, we’re not doing too well on a class and we don’t want to tell the coach, we can talk to Kinsley and he’ll tell us what we should do or help us out.”
Kinsley leads by example, according to Byrnes.
“Chris was a phenomenal leader for the team and a good captain to look up to,” Byrnes said. “He has so much heart, passion and love for the game and it lifted everyone up. He was always trying to push himself and teammates during practice – maybe sometimes too far – but it was all because he wanted the best for the team. Chris puts others before himself and would do anything for his guys and I think that’s why he was such a good leader. Even before he received the captain band, he was a good leader and was doing anything he could to help the team.”
Teammates say Kinsley makes time to meet and help students both on the field and in the classroom.
“Pretty much he is always in the library all the time,” Sinclair said, “He’ll send messages out and sad like ‘Hey I’m going to be there if anyone wants to come with me,’ like come with me and we’ll get some work done.”
Kinsley doesn’t mind. In fact, he finds this way of doing things easy to relate to because others set that example for him. Kinsley said he faced multiple issues as a freshman and glad to find help.
“I am pretty good about helping freshmen stay on top of school, because I struggled my freshman year,” Kinsley said. “I try to help and give them advice of what helped me be successful. Like, going to the library even when you think you don’t need to and finding a tutor for a struggling class.”
Kinsley’s leadership skills go back further than his college years, to family and his hometown. It’s a quality he credits to his dad.
“I think my leadership skills stem off my father,” Kinsley said. “People in my town confuse him as the mayor because all he does is take charge of [town] events.”
While the men’s soccer team’s season is over, and Kinsley’s college career is almost over, following a loss to Buffalo State on Nov. 2, Kinsley will likely put his leadership skills to good use when he begins his career as a teacher and coach.