BSHS soccer alumni, family members reunite for second-annual game
BLHS alumni game also on deck
A Basehor-Linwood boys soccer alumni game is set to take place at 6 p.m. on Aug. 23 at the school. Stay tuned for more info.
Call it a family reunion, call it an unofficial practice, but whatever you call it, call it fun.
On Friday, alumni of the Bonner Springs High School soccer team mixed it up with current boys and girls athletes in the second annual Braves alumni game. Like an all-star game, the victor wasn’t as important as simply getting together. The exception in the crowd was a brewing brother-against-brother rivalry 18-years in the making.
Recent BSHS graduate Ryan Schuler arrived to David Jaynes Field and kept a constant eye on his younger brother Austin, who is now entering his senior season with the Braves. The brothers had only ever played together in an organized game before Friday, never as foes.
“I’ve been looking forward to this,” said Ryan Schuler as he laced up his cleats.
For the Braves, who come into the 2013 season with a senior-heavy roster, the game was their first chance to kick around a ball as a unit all summer. Fall practice begins Aug. 19 for the team that went 2-12-3 in 2012 after making it to the state tournament in 2011.
For 7-year head coach Mike Moulin, the game is not a serious judgment of his team’s 2013 potential but rather a chance to enjoy a fun family gathering. Moulin's two sons, Jacob, a 2011 BSHS graduate, and Justin, a 2007 BSHS graduate, joined the alumni team just as the ball was kicked to start the game.
“They grew up playing soccer and we watched them as parents and coached them,” Moulin said. “It’s good to see them and everyone come out and play together again.”
Current Braves players heckled alumni who chose to sit in the stands instead of join the action. Most of those in the stands came in attire unfit for play so they returned the heckling with playful banter.
The match started off slow as both sides, the alumni in orange and the current Braves in grey, got a feel for the pitch again. Members of the current Braves squad also had to throw on orange shirts to fill out the ranks of the alumni roster.
The scoring began at about the 20-minute mark when the alumni got on the board with a easy shot that resulted from an error on the Braves’ team goalie. The ball was rolled directly to an alumnus' foot from a goal kick and the ball was easily tapped into the back of the net.
The Braves would recover however and score three goals before half, as did the alumni.
The second half saw the alumni pull ahead, scoring three goals to the Braves’ two.
Ryan Schuler played the entire game with a smile on his face although the epic clash against his brother never materialized because both played defense most of the game. The last time Ryan Schuler had seen most of these faces was graduation, and before that, the last game of the 2012 season.
“After our last game, I told the team, ‘Do you realize we’ll never play together again?’” Ryan Schuler said. “But I never thought about this.”
Kevin Schuler, Ryan and Austin’s father, refereed the game with a hesitant whistle. He didn’t bring any cards to officiate the match, but he did give high fives.
“It’s just for fun,” Kevin Schuler said, “so it doesn’t matter if I make a mistake.
Despite a couple handballs, offside calls and mildly aggressive tackles, everyone was able to shake hands and laugh as Kevin Schuler blew the final whistle and the alumni won, 6-5.