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Soccer boys reunite for annual alumni game

As 22 players sprint across a soccer field, they battle for a victory between past members and the present team. Amongst these men are FC alumni who have returned to triumph over the 2011-12 boys’ soccer team, Nov. 26.

In order to carry out the annual boys’ soccer alumni game that takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the boys’ soccer team arrived at 9 a.m. to warm up for their 10 a.m. game.

This year marks FC’s 15th year of holding the competition, and gives the current soccer team the opportunity to practice in a game-like environment without having the pressure of counting a real score, according to boys’ soccer coach Matt Markarian.

?It?s just a good chance to get out here with the current team and practice in an environment that?s kind of like a game environment, but doesn?t count,? Markarian said. ?It also creates community with the alumni and they look forward to this game that we play the same weekend every year; I don?t even have to advertise it. They all have either played for me or helped me coach over the years, but most of them have played over the last 18 years that I?ve been here.?

After playing varsity football, sophomore Bobby Christopher decided to play soccer for his first year, and says that in comparison, soccer is less aggressive, but adds to his speed.

?It?s different that just doing the drills during practice,? Christopher said. ?You get to hit people without pads, so you can run faster; it doesn?t seem as intense as football.?

Apart from the athletic side of the game, Christopher also expresses his enjoyment in the chance to play against familiar faces.

?I?m friends with one of the dad?s sons because I go to church with them, so it was cool getting to play against him,? Christopher said. ?It was fun to see Andrew Evans because he graduated and it was nice to get to see him again.?

During the game, all of the players not only have the opportunity to get some extra conditioning, but also get to reunite and spend time with friends. Although some people hardly see past friends, alumnus Colby Henner, ’03, says that the alumni game gives him extra time to spend with his close friends.

?I enjoy the alumni game because of the fact that I get to work out and it?s the only time to see if I?m still an athlete,? Henner said. ?All my friends from Fresno Christian are still really close so we see each other about every other day, so it?s just a fun time to be with them all the time. I?ve come to the alumni game for about five years now.?

As a member of the first soccer team at FC, alumnus Tim Poplin, ’96, says the annual event allows him to see the soccer legacy and how it has carried on, along with being able to see the growth in the current team.

?I enjoy coming to see the alumni game because I get to see that soccer is carried on because our class was the first class to start soccer,? Poplin said. ?I like seeing the present team and how they are getting better and improving. They?ve improved the last couple years since I?ve seen them; they?re better this year than they were in the past.?

After graduating last year and returning as an alumni player, Andrew Evans says he finds pleasure in remaining a part of the team, and getting to play with previous students.

?The alumni game was awesome to play in because it was cool seeing a lot of people from when I played and also seeing guys whom I?ve never met and being able to play with them,? Evans said. ?It?s cool to come out and still be a part of the team and help out with their season that?s coming up, so they can learn a little bit more of the game with the guys that already know Matt?s style of soccer.?

According to Markarian, his favorite part of the alumni game is seeing the long history of soccer and keeping alumni connected to the soccer program.

?I enjoy that we can get the alumni out here and it kind of keeps them plugged into the program and in-tune,? Markarian said. ?It?s also cool to see their families come out and get dusted off and come play. It is a good opportunity for our guys to see the long history of guys who have played and the success in our program over the last years.?

For more information about the boys’ soccer team, read the Nov. 28 article,
Boys’ soccer sport shorts: Alumni game.

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