Brothers turn soccer teammates once more

This soccer season is special for senior Matt Griffin and freshman Andy Griffin.

Not just in the fact this is Matt’s last season at Baker University and Andy’s first, but this is the first season the two brothers have played a full season together on a non-recreational team.

In 2006, Andy and Matt both played for Olathe East High School, but at different levels of competition.

“In high school, we got to play one year together, but it was a lot different because I was on varsity and he was on JV,” Matt said. “We were able to play one game, for 30 minutes together, and that was a phenomenal feeling.”

Matt’s success at Baker has kept him motivated to continue playing, as well as knowing Andy would likely play soccer in college and possibly come join him at Baker.

“He had told me, out of all the other schools he had looked at, he said he wanted to play here with me as well,” Matt said. “That meant a lot to me, and like I said, it’s the rare experience that really not a whole lot of people get to have. This, being my senior year, I couldn’t ask for much more.”

Matt and Andy both received numerous honors last year, playing for Baker and Olathe East, respectively.

Matt was named to the 2009 National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-America team and the 2009 Adidas-NAIA third team and was named the 2009 HAAC Defensive Player of the Year.

“Being the third team All-American is something that was pretty special to him,” head coach Nate Houser said.

Andy was named the 2009 Sunflower League Defensive Player of the Year, as well as being recognized as a 2009 first team All-Region player and a 2009 6A All-State team defender.

However, none of his high school accomplishments ranked as his top accomplishment.

“Probably playing on the same field as my brother and knowing that I’m good enough to play with him and against him,” Andy said.

Andy has primarily played as a midfielder this year, but has shown the versatility to play in other areas of the field as well.

With his 6-foot-5-inch frame, Andy is the tallest player on the team. The main advantage Andy uses his height for is winning headers against opponents.

Matt has enjoyed watching Andy grow up as a soccer player, and as a person, and is excited to be playing on the same field as him.

“It is a unique feeling,” Matt said. “Simply for the fact that not too many people get to say that they get to play with their younger brother, or in Andy’s case, their older brother.”

Andy believes Matt shows a great deal of leadership on the team and has looked to Matt for guidance both on and off the field.

“I look up to him not only for soccer, but for things when it comes to growing as a person and individually as well,” Andy said.