It seemed like a normal bus ride back home to Bend from Eugene after a couple of soccer matches.
But on that Saturday afternoon bus drive earlier this month, Mountain View girls soccer coach James Erickson mentioned to boys coach Donnie Emerson that there was an unusual amount of siblings on the bus.
One set of siblings, sure. Two, not that rare. But five?
“Never seen it in all my years of coaching,” Emerson said about having five pairs of brothers and sisters within the same soccer program.
There are the Romero siblings with junior Austin and freshman Grace; the Ormsbys with senior Gibson and sophomore Sam; junior Reeve Mikalson and freshman Seth Mikalson; junior Morgan Ahern and her freshman brother Taylor Ahern; and senior Reid Altman and freshman Caitlyn Altman.
“I think it is pretty cool and fun to have a younger sibling in the program,” Reeve Mikalson said. “I had an older sister in the program and that was a lot of fun, too.”
The sibling dynamic can be a competitive one — and that is no different for those on the Mountain View soccer teams.
Grace Romero watched her older brother compete in soccer, and that helped her set her own goals for the type of soccer player she wanted to be.
“He made varsity as a freshman, so I really, really wanted to make varsity as a freshman,” Grace Romero said of older brother Austin. “He’s a good player. He starts, he scores goals. I want to do that, too.”
The younger siblings have all benefited from having an older sibling who is already established in the Mountain View soccer programs. It has been especially helpful for the three freshmen, who have sought advice from their older siblings on how to handle tryouts and playing tips for matches.
“The one thing I said is that it was going to be more physical,” Reid Altman said of the advice he gave to younger sister Caitlyn. “That has been the main thing is that you can’t scare away from the physicality.”
Perhaps it was intentional, or perhaps not, but the Ormsby siblings have been preparing each other for these moments. Growing up, Gibson and Sam Ormsby would often play one-on-one soccer against each other.
“I love competing against my brother. It has been one of my favorite things to do even from a young age,” Sam Ormsby said. “We work out together and we like to push each other around, so when he is playing I like watching him push other people around.”
Due to how the high school soccer schedules are devised, rarely do boys teams get to watch the girls or vice versa. Games are at different locations, or played at the same time. That can make it difficult for the parents of the five sets of Mountain View soccer siblings. Often, one parent will travel to watch one sibling while the other parent heads to Mountain View to watch the other sibling when they have simultaneous home/road matches.
The Mountain View girls and boys soccer matches on Sept. 11 were enjoyable for the players because it was the first time this year — and perhaps one of the few times this fall — that the siblings got to watch one another play and then share a bus ride home.
Said Austin Romero: “Even though she is a freshman and she is smaller than a lot of the other players, watching (Grace) compete and win the ball just makes me proud.”