Friday, Dec.22, Baler Girls’ Soccer players from both past and present laced up their cleats and stepped onto the field at Andy Hardin Stadium for the Second Annual Alumni Girls’ Soccer Game. With 20 returning alumni players, including members from the original team started in the mid-90s, all people participating at the event could be seen cheering on their favorite player and catching up with old friends. Though the game ended with the current girls’ team winning 6-1, loud cheers could be heard from the Alumni bench as current Varsity Assistant Coach Brittany Huth (graduate 2007), scored the teams one goal from an assist by Chace Miguel (graduate 2015).
This event, which was started last year as a fundraiser for the team, included a community service aspect this year. In place of the $5 entrance fee, people attending the event were able to bring in three canned goods instead. These goods were dropped off Saturday afternoon to the San Benito County Food Bank to support families in need for the holiday season. At drop off the girls team learned that they had raised 62 pounds of canned food items.
Chace Miguel, member of the Alumni team said her favorite part of this event is, “seeing the alumni who are no longer playing soccer so excited about playing again. Goes to show how much they miss the beautiful game. I also love playing with the girls I had the privilege of playing high school soccer with again. It’s like we never stopped playing together thanks to the bond we made in our high school soccer careers”. For some the bond went beyond friendship and to family. Sam and Kassy Moreno are sisters who though they were not able to play together while in high school, were able to put on the Baler red to play as teammates on the Alumni team. Sam graduated in 2010 and Kassy graduated in 2017.
This event was not just one for alumni players to make memories. The current Varsity Girls team was able to let loose by playing against not only former teammates but also coaches, including three of the four current varsity coaches who all played soccer while attending San Benito High School. During this time girls were able to play different positions than what they play during the season. Forwards could be seen playing goalie and midfielders, defenders.
The current Junior Varsity Girls team was also in attendance. JV players participated at the event helping run concessions, collecting canned goods, and selling poinsettias for the holiday season. The night truly was a team effort.
Note: This article was written by Becky Bonner-Leland, who is the San Benito High School women’s soccer coach and also reports for BenitoLink.