Christie Fink, the head coach of Nottingham Girls Soccer gets her team ready for a game. Photo by Wes “The Media Mogul” Kirkpatrick.
Steady midfielder will enter Steinert’s Hall of Fame
By Mary Ann Tarr
There they were, a trio of young women from Hamilton Township. Members of the women’s soccer program on the pitch representing Rowan University. Each would yell out a single letter. Starting with an “S” by Christine Foy. Then an “H” from Christie Fink. And, then another “S” by Jess Babice. And then they would smile.
The former Steinert High School all-stars became Rowan all-stars and helped the Profs to achieve a lot of success.
“We’d go ‘S-H-S’ right up the field,” said Fink. “Christine was in the back, I was in the midfield and Jess was a forward.”
Babice was there to greet Foy and Fink when they got to Rowan. And, soon Babice, who is now known as Jess Cuba, will be there to welcome Fink when she is inducted into the SHS Athletic Hall of Fame. Jess joined the Hall of Fame last year.
Fink is part of the 2019 Steinert Athletic HOF Class that will be inducted April 13 at The Stone Terrace By John Henry’s.
“Christie was a dynamic, creative midfielder with great vision and ball control,” Cuba said. “I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to play with my best friend at both the high school and collegiate levels. Our soccer careers were very similar, as we both decided to play D1 right out of high school. However we quickly realized it wasn’t for us, and just happened to transfer to the same college (that wasn’t planned at all, NOT!!).”
Babice transferred to Rowan from Rhode Island and the next year, Fink departed DePaul and started at center midfield as a sophomore with the Profs. “Jess said ‘you have check it out, it’s great here,’ ” Fink remembered.
“Christie is a very good playmaker,” Rowan coach Scott Leacott stated prior to the 2009 season-opener. “…Christie is a steady force in the midfield.”
This was something that her high school coaches and teammates already knew.
“Christie was a starting midfielder who increased her teammates’ confidence because of her ability to settle the ball, control the midfield and set up opportunities to score,” Cuba said. “Christie’s upbeat, energetic and hard-working personality made her the perfect role-model for her teammates. When Christie was focused and working hard during practices and games, everyone around her was motivated to do the same.”
A three-year varsity letter winner, she was a member of an MCT champion and twice was a member of a state sectional champion.
An all-state performer at Steinert, Fink has joined her father Joe (another SHS Athletic Hall of Famer) and her best friend Jess, as a teacher and a coach in Mercer County. She was a team captain in both high school and college and is a proven leader.
“I wanted to coach and I wanted to be a (health and physical education) teacher,” she said. Soon after taking over the reins of the girls’ soccer team at Nottingham High, Christie received Coach of the Year laurels.
“Now as the varsity head coach at Nottingham, Christie demonstrates the same qualities and attributes when coaching her players,” Cuba said. “She is a respected, patient, and driven coach who has brought the program to a competitive high-level of play in three short years.”
Her love of soccer and family, which are seemingly directly connected if your last name is Fink, runs deep. Her father and his six soccer-playing (soccer-coaching, soccer-training, etc.) brothers and their late parents were inducted as a family unit into the Mercer County Soccer Hall of Fame.
“I learned a lot from my dad and I wanted to take part in all that,” said Christie, whose resume’ is chockful of experience as a teacher and a coach and a trainer. She keeps in touch with her college coach – “We’ll do a group text with him and Jess” – as well as well as her high school coach – “Aimee Turnbull, she was awesome. She keeps up with us.”
All-in-all, the soccer life has been great for Christie who has made lifelong friends and also got to spend a lot of quality time with her family.
“It’s a nice addition to my life,” she said. “It’s been a very good experience.”
Visit the Hall of Fame’s website (steinertathletichof.com) and Facebook page for information, including how to attend the April 13 dinner.