Before the Snyders arrived, Barrington wasn’t exactly a soccer town. Today, it is. Emily Snyder says our BHS teams now rival other top-ranked teams in the region, and we have four state titles—two being state championships—in recent years. The timing was right, in 1990, when the Snyders moved to Barrington from the East Coast, and Emily’s mom, Joanne, joined 10 other parents to form the nonprofit Barrington Area Soccer Association and later FCX, for competitive teams. They expected about 100-200 players to show up for their first registration. Instead, they had 800. By 1997, Joanne became the first hired as a director of the club. Emily fondly recalls her mother’s strength, independence, leadership skills, and the loving role model she was to her children. “She was a lady of few words. She wrote “At Peace” in a small journal I gave her before she died, just after I had proposed to Ashley,” Emily said. Nearly 1,000 people showed up for Joanne Snyder’s Celebration of Life gathering in Barrington.
Soccer is the thread throughout Emily’s adult life. After earning a multi-disciplinary degree at Stony Brook University in Long Island and playing Division 1 soccer there, she volunteered for the Peace Corps and headed via Miami to Sullana, Peru. Emily lived with a family for a year and a half and was trained for, and presented with, the opportunity to help lift people up above their poverty, hoping to teach self-sufficiency, support health and safety, provide snacks and meals, and she even assisted a midwife at a birthing. She played street soccer, mostly with men and boys, and played with the Peruvian National team on an all-sand pro field. Being on her own in such a far-away place helped her grow and test her abilities. She saw the Amazon Rain Forest up close, and later went to the Galapagos Islands for a lifechanging experience. “The best place I’ve ever been,” she said.
Upon returning to Barrington, Emily worked for BASA, and today is the Director of Recreation and Community Relations. “I’m the face behind the emails,” she said. BASA is by far the largest athletic program in Barrington, having the most players per season, with 1,500 this fall. Having her mom and brother working for BASA helped Emily see it as her career. As her mom taught her, details are important. For Emily, it’s not just the administrative details that matter. It is how lessons on the field build character and model fairness. She is exactly the kind of leader, coach, and parent our youth need.
“I tell our players to be kind,” Emily says. “Be yourself. Take risks. That nothing important in life was ever achieved without someone taking a chance. It’s ok to be different, you’ll find your niche—where you belong—in time. Celebrate the people around you. Enjoy time with your family. Embrace the dorkiness of life. Find the good even when you are struggling. And if life seems hard now—hang in there because it gets better.”
What an honor it is to write about a person who has impacted so many lives here in Barrington….and I’m one of those! I’ve known Emily since I was in middle school playing soccer together. I played on the Barrington Varsity Soccer team with her since my freshman year, and Emily consistently made me feel like I was a part of her life. I always tell my three girls that teammates make lifelong friends. Emily is not only a friend, but she is family to me.
She has also created quite the soccer family (BASA & FCX) within the Barrington community. As I think about Emily, the characteristic of leadership is defined through her from head to toe. Whether it’s the 6-year-olds (kicking a soccer ball for the first time), the thousands of kids playing in their first competitive tournament, to the teams succeeding at the highest level (including multiple State Championship games); Emily has impacted a countless number of lives on the soccer field. My girls have all had her as a coach; and they will remember her guidance, smile, and overall positive attitude for the rest of her lives. I am certain her mom is smiling down at the legacy she carries on and is beyond proud of her every second of every day. Love you, Em!
We met Emily many years ago through soccer. My daughters enrolled in BASA’s Mommy & Me program almost as soon as they could walk. Right from the start, it was easy to tell that Coach Emily was special. She is a great communicator, patient beyond measure, and goes out of her way to create a special bond with each player.
Emily’s true passion is competition, and she takes great pride in seeing her players do well (whether they are playing soccer or participating in other sports); and always makes certain her athletes feel that same pride in their achievements. She works tirelessly to bring soccer to the youth of the community knowing that beyond just having fun and getting exercise, these kids will gain valuable life skills like perseverance, decision making, and sportsmanship; not to mention make a few life-long memories in the process.
As a coach, Emily is always positive, while never allowing her players to settle for anything less than their very best effort. The positivity and accountability transcend beyond the soccer field creating strong, independent, confident, young people. Emily is an inspiration to all who know her. Positivity, heart, and determination radiate from her as she shows the youth of today that they can follow their dreams and be successful at anything if they dig deep and never give up. She is an absolute blessing to our community!
I first met Emily in 2007 and as much as I know her as a coach, mentor, and an all-around instrumental part of BASA/FCX, I know her on a much deeper personal level. We were first set up on a “blind date” 16 years ago and from the moment we met, I knew I had met my match. We spent our first 10 years figuring ourselves out and planning what we wanted in our future. We’ve spent the last almost six years building our family and our lives together in general.
Watching her grow into the professional she is, has been nothing short of inspiring, but watching her become a wife and mother has been the highlight for me. She puts her all into everything she does and with her sheer dedication to her job, she has provided me and our two beautiful daughters with a blessed life. That same dedication is applied to me, and our children, and I think that’s her strongest trait.
We can’t go anywhere without someone calling out “Hi Coach Em!” And whether it’s a player from 10 years ago or a present-day player, she remembers their name, their parents’ names, and maybe even a grandparent’s name. She makes these children feel special and wants them to meet their personal goals on the field, but also to be wonderful people off the field.
Regardless of her coaching abilities and her commitment to the Barrington community, her top focus is helping to build better people for this world. She has impacted so many lives but has forever changed mine by committing to us and to helping fulfill my biggest dream of having a family to call our own. So, thanks Em! Sully, Millie, and I love you very much!
Emily has always been a person who looks out for the needs of others in a way to make the world more equitable and accessible for all people. She has not liked to see others left out or left behind in any way. Through her work with BASA she has been able to provide opportunities for soccer players of all ages, abilities, and interest levels to grow their passion for the game. As you know soccer is a passion that runs very deep in Barrington. Emily has been a huge part of that growth in a variety of capacities; first as a player at BHS, then a college alumna returning to support the community, and finally, as a leader in the BASA program for the last 15 years.
Emily is also a special mother, sister, and friend to those in her closest circles. She loves to host family and friend events that bring people together to play games, socialize, and share a meal. Always again being inclusive and inviting. I enjoy the times we can catch up and talk about her two daughters Sullivan and Millie and their developing passions and interests. As well as hearing about the BASA and BHS programs and the impacts she has had on all those players. Emily is there for others and to make the world around her a place that all people are welcome.
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