ALTON - A total of 67 players spanning from the mid-80s through today returned to play in a men's and women's alumni soccer match to benefit the Alton High School program on Saturday evening at Public School Stadium.
The former Redbird players enjoyed themselves before a good crowd as the two teams split the results. The team consisting of players who graduated in odd-numbered years defeated the team who graduated in even-numbered years 7-2 in the women's game, with the even-year team winning the men's match over the odd-year team 3-2. The real winner, however, was the Redbird program, as the former players had a great time and raised plenty of money to benefit the program.
"Yes, we had a blast," said game organizer and Redbird girls coach Gwen Sabo. "It was a great turnout and a great fundraiser for the soccer programs. Both games were extremely competitive, and I'm really happy it was a success."
During the games, a bake sale was held for fans, along with various Redbird soccer team gear also on sale, with the money going to the Alton programs.
In the women's game, Lindsay Kennedy-Eversmeyer led the odd-year team with a double brace (four goals), while Sabo, Jordan Sasek, and Jessica Taul also scored, with Kennedy-Eversmeyer and Sasek each having two assists. The even-year team's only goals came from a brace (two goals) by Jessica Varner, while Allison Baker had an assist.
In the men's game, Nick Funk had a brace (two goals) for the even-year team, while Jake Lombardi also scored, while both Garrick Reddit and Caden Chestnut has the assists. The odd-year team got goals from Ben Cooley and Jordan London, while Kevin Cheatham and Nick Rayfield assisted.
Players from both teams stayed after the games for pictures and reminiscing about the days gone by in a celebration of Redbird soccer.
Preseason practice for the 2021 boys season, which will be played in its normal fall schedule after last year's delay to the spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is scheduled to begin Aug. 9, with the season opener set for later in August. The state Class 3A tournament series is set to begin in late October, with the state finals set for Nov. 5-6 at Hoffman Estates High School in northwest suburban Chicago.