A Little Too Familiar?

It’s not uncommon for collegiate soccer players to cross paths with former teammates they played with at the youth soccer level. When the Michigan State Spartans and Western Michigan Broncos take the field on Wednesday at 4 p.m., many paths will be crossed.

Sophomore midfielder, Dewey Lewis, redshirt freshman, Ryan Scott, and junior midfielder, Jason Stacy, grew up on the west side of Michigan and played youth soccer for the Grand Rapids Crew Juniors along with several Western Michigan University players.

“It’s always trying to be the best of the group that we have,” Stacy said. “It’s a thing of pride. You want your school to do better than theirs, but you want them to play well still, but you want to end up getting the result. So it’s more of a personal satisfaction.”

Lewis, Scott and Stacy know a lot of different Bronco players, but there are four that the three of them are particularly close with: junior goalkeeper, Chase Rau, junior midfielder, Sean Conerty, junior midfielder, Greg Timmer and junior defender, Cam Jensen.

Rau started off his collegiate career at the University of Wisconsin where he appeared in 16 games and started in 15 of them. He transferred to Western Michigan after his freshman year and in his sophomore season he started in all 19 games.

A former Spartan, Conerty, appeared in 41 games and started in 25 games. While playing for Michigan State, he scored the game-winning overtime goal to beat the University of Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament Championship game his freshman year. He has eight assists for the Broncos this year and has started in six games.

Timmer, a transfer from Iowa Western Community College, won the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Junior College Division One National Player of the Year award last year. This year he has started in five games and has one goal.

The only player to not transfer in, Jensen, played in 23 games his first two seasons for the Broncos. This season he has started and played in 12 games and has one goal.

Having played youth soccer together for so long, Lewis, Scott and Stacy feel the emotions that come with the game.

“I have played with these kids since I was five or six,” Lewis said. “It’s definitely going to be different playing against them but I am looking forward to the challenge.”

To add to the mixture of familiar faces, three other Spartans, Zach Bennett, Ryan Keener and Tim Kreutz, know Timmer well after playing with him this summer on Lansing United of the National Premier Soccer League.

“I don’t think we will necessarily approach [the game] any differently, but there will definitely be that little bit of fire going,” Scott said. “We just want to go out there and prove that we play for the better university.”

Brooks Laimbeer is the host of Corner Kick for Impact Sports.

Photo: Hannah McEnroe/Impact Sports