Camaraderie, competition at annual alumni soccer game
With age comes experience — this was proven at the annual alumni soccer game at Old Rochester Regional High School on Friday, Nov. 25.
Alumni of Old Rochester’s soccer program arrived to relive the glory days at their alma mater and to face off against the current varsity soccer team.
The alumni beat current players 2-1, securing their eighth straight win against the varsity team.
“It's really about camaraderie,” said ORR Assistant Soccer Coach Mike Paolella, who also served as referee for the match. “They love playing together. [Our teams] always had a strong friendship [and] community.”
But before the game could begin, Paolella made sure that all the “old timers” stretched and got ready to play. “We don’t want anyone to tear anything they shouldn't,” he said.
The game was informal and friendly, with alumni showing up at different times throughout the match, subbing out for other players who had already been on the field.
Some alumni were decked out in soccer gear, while others swapped their cleats for Doc Martens boots.
Alumni Alex Sousa, a 2017 graduate who currently works as a manager at the Wareham Shaws, came back to compete against his old team.
“It's my only time I play a game a year anymore,” he said. “So really, this is pretty exciting for me — just the fact that I get to see my old teammates.”
There was a rivalry between the alumni and current players, complete with light-hearted taunts.
“You guys look like you put on the freshman 50,” one current soccer player said to his college-aged counterparts.
Off the soccer pitch, the teams huddled around cell phones on the sidelines to watch the United States take on England in the 2022 World Cup — enjoying eachothers company and enjoying the sport they all hold dear.
“Live in the moment,” said Sousa, giving advice to current students. “It goes really, really quick. When you're four or five years out from it like we are at this point, you just miss it. Not everything, but the good parts you miss.”
And for the current varsity players at ORR, the annual alumni game was one of the “good parts.” Smiles and laughs were shared by players young and old.
“One day it’ll be over,” he continued. “So make sure that when you're in the moment, you live it to the fullest.”