Lansing trio sparks Kansas to victory in All-Star game at Arrowhead Stadium
Kansas City, Mo. The Kansas vs. Missouri High School All-Star Soccer Game had a distinct Lansing flavor on Thursday at Arrowhead Stadium, and it wasn't just because Lansing High grads contributed a goal and an assist in Kansas' 5-3 victory.
Lansing placed three players - 2006 graduates Mike Bayless, Brad Mock and Ty Thackston - on the Kansas roster. Only Class 5A state champion St. Thomas Aquinas had more players (four) in the game than Lansing. Smithville and Park Hill South both had three players on the Missouri squad.
"We were surprised that all three of us made it, but we're real happy," Thackston said. "At least we all got to play one more time together, and we won."
The Kansas All-Stars certainly did win, and Lansing's players had plenty to do with it. Thackston started the game at forward and scored Kansas' second goal. Bayless came off the bench to play his usual midfield position. He assisted on Kansas' third goal. Mock, a starting forward at LHS, moved to the midfield to bolster the Kansas attack.
Kansas scored first when Aquinas' Michael Thomas buried a shot just six minutes into the game. Missouri tied it up two minutes later when Eric Ooton of St. Pius X scored. Moments later, Thackston put Kansas back on top. He received a pass from Thomas and buried a shot just inside the near post from 10 yards out.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to play where the professionals play," Thackston said of playing on the Kansas City Wizards' home pitch. "It just felt great to get on this field and score a goal."
Missouri tied the game four minutes later when Matt Happy of Excelsior Springs scored, but Kansas took a 3-2 lead shortly thereafter when Bayless flicked a pass to Blue Valley North's Chris Matsch for a goal. Bayless nearly added a goal of his own two minutes later when his shot from close range hit the crossbar. Mock crashed the box and unleashed a shot off the rebound that sailed just high.
"I got my one shot and I got a little unlucky, but passing is pretty much what I did all fall anyway so the assist is OK," Bayless said.
Kyle Reynolds of Shawnee Mission West scored two second-half goals for Kansas. Rockhurst's Jordan Raybould scored Missouri's lone goal in the second half.
For Mock, the opportunity to test his skills against the best players from the two-state area on a major stage was exciting.
"It was definitely an experience of a lifetime," he said. "It was awesome."