Sibling revelry: Three sets of brothers among Lake Tahoe CC men’s soccer team hopefuls
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — As the Lake Tahoe Community College men’s soccer team prepares for its 2015 season, hopefuls from around the world are trying to crack the Coyotes’ roster. Six of those players shared a bond before coming across the pond — they’re brothers.
“I’ve had twins on the girls side and brothers on the guys side, but to have three sets of brothers is really cool,” Coyotes head coach Ben Wade said. “I was excited when I knew they were going to come over. It’s cool to see those dynamics here.”
Nick and Willie Twumasi come to the pitch at LTCC from their native Ireland. Wade said he originally recruited the elder Nick to play for the Coyotes, who then told the coach to take a look at his younger brother.
“Being out here with your brother makes it a lot easier,” Nick said. “You’re a lot more comfortable because you know you have someone here from your own family with you — you’re both on the same page, want the same achievements and have the same goals.”
Nick plays in attack at either striker or center midfield while Willie prefers defense at left or right back. The brothers prefer opposite positions and don’t mind playing on opposite sides.
“I know where Nick is all the time,” Willie said. “He’s always trying to make sneaky moves.”
“That’s what strikers do,” Nick added just as his brother was finishing that thought.
Both brothers said “I love this” in describing their first trip to Lake Tahoe. And both plan to make an impact for the Coyotes this fall.
“This area is really nice — everyone here is really friendly and I like it here,” Willie said. “The sun and the weather make everything a bonus to be honest.”
Ben and Josh Sapsed hail from Bracknell, England, a town 30 miles west of London. Both like to play in attack, but on opposite sides of the field.
“As I was going through the process, Josh wanted to join in so I asked coach and I sent him a couple videos — he said the more the merrier,” Ben said. “We got on a plane and we’re here now.”
Josh had planned to play soccer in America a few years earlier, but struggled with the prospect of living alone in a foreign country. Now he’s here with his brother as both aim to continue their soccer careers.
“My brother has made it a world easier,” Josh said.
An age difference between the Sapsed brothers meant they didn’t play together on the same teams growing up. But outside of organized football, the two played to the point that they feel a connection on the pitch.
“We haven’t played too much together, but when we do play together it is beneficial — he trusts me and I trust him,” Josh said.
From the opposite side of the globe, Australian brothers Jaryd and Aiden Shaw journeyed across the Pacific to LTCC. They are two of six Coyotes hopefuls from Australia, and the New South Wales natives said the phrases “cheers mate” and “g’day mate” revealed the pair as Aussies almost immediately.
“It gives me more confidence and I’m not as homesick,” Aiden said. “I have my brother and my best mate here, so it’s pretty comforting.
“It’s so awesome — I’m just so glad we got the opportunity to come here.”
Jaryd, who deferred an offer to play college soccer last year, received an offer from LTCC and took it right away. Holding off a year allowed him to make the trip to South Lake Tahoe alongside his sibling.
“We’re pretty lucky,” he said. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Both Shaw brothers play defense — Aiden prefers left back while Jaryd is comfortable on either side. And similar to the other sets of siblings, they don’t mind playing on opposite teams.
“We’re used to that back at home,” Jaryd said.
Lake Tahoe is hosting players as part of a community outreach class that began this week. The Coyotes will announce their first and second squads on Aug. 13 — official training starts two days later and the team opens its 2015 campaign Aug. 29 at home against Fresno City College.
“We have a huge rebuilding job this year and I see dozens of good players out there,” Wade said. “The talent and the depth this year is going to be greater that last year.
“It’s a good start.”
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