LYNN– After a hiatus last year, the Lynn English girls soccer alumni game will be played again this Saturday at Manning Field. English coach Ed McNeil is hoping for a big turnout and said he’s excited to catch up with his former Bulldogs players.
“We didn’t have it last year. I planned it a little later and there wasn’t much availability at Manning Field,” McNeil said. “I made sure to put in a request early this year.
“It’s always been a good time,” McNeil added. “The alumni team won the last four games out of five against varsity in the past. This year we’ll play alumni versus alumni. I graduated so many players (from the 2017 roster) that I’m not even positive who my varsity team is yet this fall.”
McNeil has reached out to over 60 former players, mostly through Facebook and social media platforms, and is hoping hoping to have around 16 players for each of the two teams.
“It’s an amazing thing. I keep in touch with so many girls on Facebook,” McNeil said. “I have been posting each years’ team picture ever since I started coaching and talking about the game.”
Some players that will be participating in the alumni game Saturday include 2018 graduate Alexa Zayas, a solid offensive player, and 2010 alum Megan Forti.
“Alexa Zayas scored 11 of our 22 goals last year and she is going to be playing at New England College,” McNeil said. “Megan Forti won Division III college player of year at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and she’s an outstanding player. She went on to play more outstanding soccer than with us because she was around better players.”
The alumni also include players that donned the maroon and white English uniform before McNeil began coaching the Bulldogs 16 years ago, including Sharon Clement.
“Sharon was a captain on one of first Lynn English teams,” McNeil said of Clement. “Her daughter is an outstanding player on the Danvers High team that won the state championship last year. She’s just a terrific person.”
The game kicks off at 2:30 Saturday afternoon and McNeil is looking forward to also seeing former players he hasn’t been in touch with recently.
“I’m hoping for some surprises and maybe to see some girls there I haven’t talked to in a long time,” McNeil said. “One thing that I have had while coaching is a lot of sister combinations so hopefully a lot of them show up.
“You never know, you could get 20 people or get 40 people to show up,” McNeil added. “I’m hoping for the best, It’s a good way to get together and see girls that you played with in the past.”
Five players from McNeil’s upcoming 2018 team will also be participating in the game, McNeil said.
“We should have a good mix of players in really good shape, decent shape and maybe some that aren’t in playing shape at all,” McNeil said. “But the cameras and cell phones will be out with a ton of pictures. A lot of these girls haven’t even had their five year high school reunions yet and just graduated college.
“I’m anticipating a really good turnout,” McNeil added. “After the game we are planning on going out to get a nice meal and spend plenty of time catching up.”