It was the old versus the young, as some say.
The second annual ETSU men’s soccer alumni game had more to it than age difference. Former players of the ETSU soccer team watched and played against the current players on the team for a friendly duel. Despite losing 1-0 to the current team, the alumni still left the field happy to be there.
2014 graduate David Geno, who was a forward for the team, had a lot to share with the players.
“I told the players to be at a program like this, they’re blessed,” Geno said. “They should make the most of it because it goes by so fast, and they have to enjoy their time together and cherish it.”
This is the eighth year that the men’s soccer team has been in existence at ETSU. For a while, there was only a women’s team.
Head coach Bo Oshoniyi said this is a way for the alumni to relive some of their memories on the field and for the current players to see the people that laid the foundation before them.
“We’re still a young program, and we’re still growing,” Oshoniyi said. “We’re trying to lay some foundation… We’re just trying to keep the program to get to national prominence.
Although the game was important for the players and alumni, Saturday’s game meant a lot to the fans.
It was particularly meaningful for one fan in particular. His smile lit up the field and also the faces around him.
Jeff Oliver worked for the ETSU post office for 23 years and said he has been a huge fan of the soccer team since the first year they came to Johnson City. He lived in South America for a while before coming to ETSU.
“I don’t miss many home games, and I come to a lot of practices and take photos to put on Facebook,” Oliver said. “A lot of their parents live in South America and other places, and they like to see pictures of their kids playing soccer… I’m not their photographer, but I do it for a hobby.”
Oliver said the alumni game was fun because he got to see players and friends who he hadn’t seen in a long time.
Following the alumni game, the team had an exhibition game against Radford. For the remainder of the spring season, they will have exhibition games against Louisville and Milligan on Saturday and Virginia Tech on April 23.