Bonner Springs hosts alumni soccer game
Former Bonner Springs soccer coach David Toland stood on the field turf at David Jaynes Stadium Friday night in awe of how far the soccer program had come.
There were the brand new bleachers that have yet to be used. Big orange lettering that decorated the press box overlooking the field announced, “Home of the Braves.”
Toland, who started the school’s soccer program in 2000, considered home a half-gravel, half-grass field in Edwardsville during most of his tenure. Coming back to coach in the first of a potential yearly alumni game, he was glad that the founding team members could experience this upgraded home field as well as show the current players the foundation this program was built on.
“The newer guys can see that this is a heck of a program and there were some good people who came from it,” Toland said.
Friday night’s alumni game for the Braves featured two teams, one of current players and the other of the alums. In order to participate, current girls or boys players had to raise $20 while any returning player or student paid $10, all proceeds helping fund the soccer program.
Toland coached the alumni while current head coach Mike Moulin led the younger team in a 7-2 alumni victory. But it wasn’t about that. For the young players, it was a learning experience.
“Besides getting killed, I guess,” junior Jeremy Vanden Hull said.
Most of the players who helped set the groundwork for this now-respected program were participants in the game. BSHS is trying to become more than just a football school, and that is a big reason for this alumni game. Michael Bille, a 2008 graduate, said that the enthusiasm for Braves soccer has yet to let up.
“I thought it was a cooler sport,” he said about his time at BSHS. “We never had trouble getting people out when we were there. But obviously they have some people coming down now, so that’s pretty cool.”
Most of the alumni have kept up with soccer, playing indoor or in college, anything to make sure their skills don’t deteriorate.
Jonny Baxter, a 2006 graduate, said that most of the alumni that were there, and possibly even more, would come back to do these games on a regular basis.
“We can get enough guys out here every time,” he said. “Every month, every week.”
Toland and Moulin are soccer purists, so this kind of game is a absolute joy for them. They can see players they haven’t coached in ages and use them as an example for the youngsters. Hopefully, Moulin said, the returning players proved that having a sound dedication to soccer makes for better players.
“That’s the whole reason I coach,” Moulin said. “To make it fun for them for their entire lives.”
Just as those words escaped his mouth, a loud, “Heads up, heads up!” came out of nowhere. Instead of leaving for home, several former players had put one of their own in a gigantic tire and were pushing him down the field.
“This is what I get right here,” Moulin said, avoiding the blow. “They’re crazy kids.”