Current and past stars of the pitch for the Bears made their way to Conway to show their soccer chops and to grease up the rusty parts of their game on a familiar pitch and in front of some familiar and maybe not so familiar faces.
After making their return to the pitch for spring games, the men’s and women’s soccer teams met for their annual alumni game on Saturday in a show of fraternity and celebration of the program.
2014 senior striker Sara Perlman found herself at home once again in friendly competition after nearly a year off the field.
“After not playing for over a year now it brought back a lot of good memories about my college days and soccer days. It’s nice to be able to see my old coaches and show them how far I have come since my soccer days and show them what I have become, because they played a big role on how I approach the real world outside of soccer,” Perlman said.
The alumni match serves the UCA soccer community as a sort of reunion, bringing in players old and new who share stories, compare battle scars and find solace in a community that can often be forgotten in the players post-collegiate lives.
Alumnus Dillon Vedral, who played from 2003-2006, sees the alumni game as an opportunity to not only reconnect with old buddies but also as a way to stay tied to a program that is producing solid young talent to this day.
“The alumni game is a special weekend. It is like a family reunion in many ways. The guys get together and share stories and have a few laughs. The stories never get old as the years go by,” Vedral said.
Despite the reconnection, Vedral feels the gap in years from his younger compatriots more and more each year.
“As the years pass you can tell us alumni do age. It is great to knock the ball around with the guys you bled and sweat with and to catch a glimpse of a new crop of players. Seeing the program and school grow is something truly special,” he said.
The Alumni game serves as the final meeting for both the men’s and women’s team for the semester as graduation and summer approaches. For many seniors this is the last time they will set foot on the soccer field as a Bear. Most will return for future alumni games as the soccer program here at UCA keeps growing.
Fans can look forward to both Bears teams taking the pitch next season when the season starts back in the fall on a date that is to be announced.
Originally Published In The April 20, 2016 Print Edition of The Echo.
image via www.ucasports.com