Boys soccer alumni cheer on their former teammates

Peyton Adkins, a 2020 alum, hugs senior Jesus Cervantes after the Panthers defeated Weiss in the playoffs. Adkins was a member of last year’s team, which finished rank No. 1 in the state but did not get a chance to compete in the playoffs because of COVID.

Katie Gerbasich, Staff Writer

The boys soccer program has come so close to the state tournament in past seasons. This year’s team has a cheering section of alumni determined to celebrate the group who finally made it.

When Johan Yeager, a 2020 grad, couldn’t make it to the region final game, he watched his brother Thor Yeager through FaceTime remotely. A few rows up Luke Tiedtke, a 2019 grad, sat with his family cheering as the boys advanced to the state semifinals.

In Tiedtke’s senior season, the soccer team fell one game short of making it to state. Johan Yeager’s team was undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the state before the coronavirus shut down the season before the playoffs even started. 

Now, Johan Yeager, Tiedtke and a number of former Kingwood Park boys soccer players are cheering on their old teammates who will play Pharr Valley View in the state semifinals tonight at 7 p.m. in San Antonio.

“It’s so awesome [to watch them],” Tiedtke said. “It’s nice to see someone get to state since we couldn’t.”

Thor Yeager, the team’s junior goalkeeper, received texts from his two older brothers – both program alumni – before the region final game wishing him luck. Afterward, they congratulated him on the victory and celebrated that at least one of the three finally made it to state. His oldest Bruce was a team captain in 2018.

“I, and many of the current seniors, were in the locker room when we lost two years ago and to all of us this playoff run is personal and we use it as fuel to continue to compete,” Thor Yeager said. 

The senior class has said repeatedly that their motivation comes from finishing what their old teammates started.

Cade Solberg, a 2018 grad, was at the region final and said he loves seeing how the program has grown. He thinks the current seniors really learned from his class on how to communicate and pass the ball. They then taught it well to the next class of players. He also finds it exciting the way they connect on the field. 

“They’re a brotherhood, 100%,” Solberg said. “Knowing that they got each other and if one of them falls they are all gonna fall together.”

All alumni hope for the best in the state tournament. Their advice is simple. 

“Just keep doing what you are doing,” Tiedtke said. “It obviously seems to be working.”