Pat Connell Award – Wilson von Bohlen ’23
Established in 2022, the Pat Connell Award is given to a Dominican High School soccer player who shows a love for soccer and an understanding of the foundation of teamwork, respect, determination, hard work and Christian leadership. The award is in honor of Dominican alum and former soccer coach Pat Connell ’78. Connell passed away in January 2022.
The first recipient of the Pat Connell Award is Wilson von Bohlen ’23. Wilson was a four-year starter at Dominican, playing his last three seasons as the team’s goalie. During Wilson’s career, Dominican won 30 games and a regional championship in 2019.
Q: Congratulations on being the first-ever recipient of the Pat Connell Award! What was your reaction when you received this honor?
A: It was a great feeling. It felt like an award for all the hard work that I put in on and off the field. Not just for this year, but for all four years. It feels really nice to be recognized for all the effort I put in.
Q: You were one of the team captains this season. How much did that help improve your leadership skills?
A: My leadership skills improved a lot. Getting to wear the armband, it has a special feeling. There are a lot of ways to lead and be a captain. It became less about myself and more about the overall team. As a captain this year, it was more of a responsibility before practice and games to make sure the team was getting ready. If the coaches were running late, I took the initiative to start warmups. I made sure we were doing the little things and not slacking off. If I’m doing the right things on and off the field, my teammates will as well.
Q: How will you remember your time as a member of the boys soccer team at Dominican High School?
A: It’s been really special and incredible. I’ve made so many friends and connections during my four years. It’s been such a confidence boost and an important part of my experience at Dominican. Every season was different. Every group of guys were different. But it was so fun to be a part of. It felt really great to be able to represent Dominican. Being able to spend all that time with my teammates, it was really special.
Q: The team went undefeated at Palermo’s Field this fall. How fun was it to play your final season on Dominican’s new artificial turf field?
A: That was absolutely incredible. Getting to have more people at your games gives you more energy and passion. To get to do it at Dominican made it so much more valuable. It’s one thing to have the logo on your jersey, but getting to play here really felt different. Getting to represent Dominican at Dominican, in front of Dominican, it was a great experience to have those crowds. It was great to be able to be at the center of something with such school pride. Felt like the school was coming together around us. It made those games so much more fun to play.
Q: How has Dominican helped you grow as a person on and off the field?
A: As a student, Dominican has helped me be more confident. Put myself out there more. Whether it was Kairos, Knight Squad, or any other activity, the school helped me find leadership positions that I was comfortable with. Dominican helped me find myself. Playing sports forces you to be confident and put yourself out there. It makes it easy to meet people and create memories. When you have the opportunity to be on a team, you can express yourself. You get to care about something and push yourself.
Q: What advice would you give future soccer players at Dominican High School?
A: Work hard and be proud. It really does pay off. When you go through the season, it can be really easy to be lazy or take the easy way out. Once it’s over, you wish you could have those moments back. You wish that you went harder on that drill and harder in the scrimmage. Be proud of being on the team. Be proud of what you accomplished in the games and practices. Be proud of how hard you worked. Be proud to represent your school because it’s special. It does not last forever, but it’s a really cool thing you get to do.