Quintet of state winning players from one middle school team
The photo you see here shows the first ever soccer team at Holy Family School in New Albany.
The year is 2005, and in that first season the fifth and sixth grade Eagles soared to success, winning the Louisville Catholic School Athletic Association’s City Championship.
Six years on, the legacy of that same team can be felt throughout Indiana and Kentucky as another unique achievement is added to its list of firsts.
No fewer than five of its members won a high school soccer state championship title this fall, in both boys’ and girls’ realms.
In October, Lauren Holland, Casey Marlin and Erin Wallace (pictured front row, far right, in that order) were part of Providence’s Class A girls’ tournament success, the first IHSAA state sanctioned victory in the school’s 60 year history in any sport.
And last week, Mitch Brinkworth (right of goalie, front row) and Logan Riely (front row, second left) were among the St Xavier boys’ team which captured its 11th KHSAA state title last week (see story below).
All are still good friends, and can be found at Floyd Central’s fields at weekends having a kick about when time allows.
Coaches of the Eagles at the time were Tim Brown, whose sons Trent and Wade were part of the team, and Bobby Holland, father of Lauren. Holland was also part of Providence’s success this year as an assistant coach.
“It’s pretty amazing that five players from this team captured state titles this season,” said Brown.
“(The) team was loaded with talented players. Looking at the picture, I can count 13 out of 21 players who started varsity soccer at various local high schools. I was fortunate enough to coach these kids all the way through the 8th grade at Holy Family. I think we lost one game while they were (at the school).”
In 2005, the tournament extended to the month of June, so the Eagles ended up with a lot of players out of town on vacation for the finals.
“I only had Mitch and Erin that day,” said Brown. “I remember asking Mitch to slide back to right defender from striker. He did it with no questions asked and played a great game for us that day. Erin had our first goal – a long low shot from the right side. She also played the entire game.”
Brown added that both Logan Riely and Lauren Holland have come back from some pretty major injuries to be a part of these championship teams.
“Logan has had a laundry list of injuries and Lauren blew her know out last season and has come back from that,” he said.
The team played in Louisville because it wasn’t until the following year, 2006, that the New Albany Deanery Soccer League, featuring 3rd to 8th graders from numerous local schools, was founded.
In fact, Logan Riely’s dad, Frank, was a major force in its development and Brown thinks the Eagles also played their part in giving it a kick start.
“I believe the success of this team went a long way to establishing the Deanery League,” said Brown.
He said that along the way, the players received great coaching from their different clubs, including Southern Indiana United and Net-Surfers locally, not to mention top tutelage at the high school level from Dave Smith (Providence) and Andy Schulten (St. Xavier).
However, Brown added that even then he knew he had a gifted bunch.
“These kids were great to coach,” he said. “Some of them you could tell were talented at that age. Some of them were average soccer players at the time. I believe each of them had the love for the game that made them put in the time and effort to develop into the players they are today.
“It’s been a fun soccer season seeing these kids win state championships. It really speaks well for the state of soccer in southern Indiana.”