Vashon sixth-grader is invited to elite German soccer academy

Fynn Holloway didn’t land in Germany by chance — it was a result of passion and love for the game.

Many athletes dream of big chances, but McMurray Middle School sixth-grader Fynn Holloway, received an opportunity of a lifetime this summer.

After showing his soccer skills at the BvB International Academy Tournament last year in Texas, Fynn was chosen as one of five U.S. youth players to be invited to Borussia Dortman’s School of Excellence in Germany.

“Being able to see the stadium, meet the pros, and train at the academy with other German kids who were really good was cool. The practices there were fun and intense,” said Holloway. “We also got to watch the pro team play and spend time with the coaches who were great.”

Holloway didn’t land in Germany by chance — it was a result of passion and love for the game.

He started kicking a ball around from the time he could walk and began officially playing soccer at the age of two, when his dad Kent Holloway (who was an all-American college soccer player) coached the Bumble Bee program here on Vashon.

Fynn also benefited from being the youngest of three boys. His two older brothers, Taj and Colt, play soccer, among other sports and activities here on the island.

“There is no shortage of chaos at our house with three dynamic and talented boys,” said the boys’ mom, Michelle Malarney. “There is constant activity – kicking or throwing a ball around, inventing new ways to compete with each other, or just making each other laugh.”

From the beginning, Fynn showed exceptional soccer skills, and his dad would spend hours kicking and coaching on the side of every practice Fynn could find. And for years, the B’07 team (Vashon Arsenal) welcomed Fynn to train with them year-round.

“We always loved having Fynn play with us, he was small, but he was tough,” said Bodie Thomas, a former player on the team. “We were older, and he would just never give up.”

When this was not enough, Fynn and his buddies Felix Cobb and Parker Ward trained before school, on the McMurray fields, or practiced on the high school turf with other on-island BvB players including Dominic and Luca Coppolillo, Toby Swan or Henry Maurer.

Fynn’s exceptionalism on the field comes from his personal drive, his creativity in improving his skills, and his ability to make it all fun. He is as skilled with his right foot as he is with his left. He can shoot, defend and aggressively attacks the ball. Simply put, he wants the ball and won’t stop until he gets it.

“What makes Fynn a great player is when you ask him to do something once, he adjusts and does it the first time,” said Jakob Heushert, a standout player at Vashon High School (VHS). “He is just so coachable.”

Heushert trained with Fynn on the new fields at VHS in preparation for Fynn’s visit in Germany.

“Just having this field really makes the difference for Fynn and me and lots of other kids,” said Heushert. “This field is changing lives.”

In 2020, BvB formed an international academy ( in Seattle.On Vashon, we are lucky enough to have on-island training, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, through this club.

For the past two years, Holloway has been under the guidance of BvBIA-Seattle’s director of coaching, Sherriff Grey, and Coach Bigga Johnson.

“I can say without reservation that with Fynn’s attitude towards the game, work rate and his eagerness to succeed at soccer has the makings of a superstar!.” said Grey. “If this was basketball, I would give Fynn the last shot with 0.01 seconds. He is that kind of player. We are all so excited to see where he goes.”

Dru Wright, the director of development of BvB International Academy America, said “We are very proud of Fynn and Brian and how well they represented our academies here in North America.”

For some context, Borussia Dortman’s school, where Fynn studied in Germany, is arguably the top youth development soccer academy in the world. The US’s top player, Christian Pulisic, joined this academy full-time, at age 15, and was developed by this program. Since then, Pulisic has gone on to lead U.S. Men’s National Team and become a star striker for Chelsea in the English Premier League after years at BvB.

“It was amazing to be in Germany playing soccer and meeting the players,” said Holloway. “I definitely want to keep getting better and go back.”

All of us in Vashon Soccer are thrilled Fynn has this kind of opportunity. As a community, we are proud of him.

John Thomas is the former VISC development director, who now works with the high school teams and is looking forward to Vashon Futbal 2023.