The Voice of the Eagles: Matt Engstrom
When New Life Academy played football at East Ridge High School, there was a man that had a voice that echoed within the city of Woodbury.
It became so loud once that the Woodbury police was sent to the East Ridge football field's press box on a noise complaint. After they found out it was the announcer, the Woodbury police said, "yep, there's a football game. Have a good night." The police walked away with smiles on their faces.
That voice echoing within the city was Matt Engstrom.
After 26 years of announcing, Engstrom is the voice of the Eagles. He's announced football games, volleyball matches and basketball games for over two decades, and he's not looking to stop.
"This is the perfect position for me because I get to be loud and we get to try new things," Engstrom said. "It's been fun to see how New Life has grown since I took this position many years ago."
Engstrom started his career at New Life as a math teacher in 1992. During his time as a teacher, he decided to help at the scorer's table to get his feet into announcing.
When he helped out, they put him in the lineup position and that's where his announcing years took off.
He became the junior varsity head boys basketball coach and an assistant coach for the boys basketball varsity team, which allowed him to understand the atmosphere of New Life and the fans that surround the basketball game.
A handful of years after becoming a teacher, Engstrom found a love in software and left teaching in 1995. He continued to stay a part of the basketball team for a couple years after that before dropping that position and switching to announcing.
"I knew I wanted to still be a part of that New Life community because it was so great," Engstrom said. "Since I enjoyed the announcing part of games, I decided to stay with being an announcer for New Life."
The fun part for Engstrom is seeing some of the best games and matches in New Life's sports history. He's also seen the transformations of gyms and facilities as an Eagle.
The biggest transformation was the new gym that was built for volleyball matches and basketball games. The previous gym had carpet on the surface, so getting the new gym allowed for many new announcing techniques.
The gym had new surround sound and spotlights to have new ways to introduce the teams and lend an excitement before the game starts.
"If players and fans have ideas for introductions, I usually try to do them and see how the fans react to it," Engstrom said. "We've done anything from the Bulls introductions to spotlights on the players. It's fun to see how the players feed off those introductions."
Every season, Engstrom looks at the lineup to find names and create different ways of saying the name. For example, a player with an "O" he can make the name long. Or if a player's name ends in a "Y", he can hold onto the name for a longer period of time.
He always likes to find a fun name to announce each season. It also puts a smile on the players face, which always makes Engstrom happy to continue doing this position.
He's also been able to watch his family while announcing. His son graduated from New Life in 2015 and played basketball, so Engstrom was able to announce for his son and his team.
Engstrom plans to announce for New Life for as long as he can because he doesn't plan to leave the Woodbury area in the future.
"[My family] really enjoys the New Life community and the Woodbury area," Engstrom said. "We go to church at New Life and stay active with the school."
The Woodbury and New Life community will continue to hear that echoing voice for the future. This time it won't be at East Ridge High School, but rather the gym of New Life Academy.
So make sure to put the phones down, sit back and listen to the voice of the Eagles.