Men's Soccer

Soccer and tennis teams host annual alumni events

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Throughout each year, the Bethel Athletic Department along with Alumni Services host a number of games, matches, and events where alumni are welcomed back and compete against current players. Last weekend was a very significant weekend as both the men’s soccer team and both tennis teams hosted an event for their alumni. These events have been very momentous throughout the years as it is a great way for alumni to reconnect with former teammates and meet the current players. At the same time, many of the alumni are still connected in their sport and are able to provide quality competition that is beneficial to the current team. Typically many teams experience many of their former alumni coming back due to the strong loyalty many former players have for the Bethel athletic program. Overall, the weekend was a success in the eyes of a number of those putting it on, including Director of Alumni Services, Lois Pannabecker. “I worked with Coach John Natali and Coach Pinto to plan these events, and both men were very enthused about the success of their events,” said Pannabecker. In addition both coaches were very satisfied in how the afternoon went. On the soccer field, there were a number of activities going on throughout the day. They began by hosting an alumni game, then provided a free soccer clinic for the community and the children of alumni, and then ended with the alumni watching the current team take on 7th ranked Azusa Pacific. Although the team would fall to the Cougars of Azusa Pacific 3-0, it was a very successful day. “I thought that this was one of the best alumni games and gatherings we have ever had,” said head soccer coach Thiago Pinto. “There was a great sense of pride that we felt from those who came, the game was very competitive and everyone had a great time of fellowship afterwards.” In addition, Coach Pinto believes that the soccer alumni game has continued to grow each year and was very pleased by the showing last Saturday. “We have been able to build an great momentum in the last three years and now we have some great number of alumnus coming back to relive great moments on and off the fields with their teammates and other players who have gone through the program,” said Coach Pinto. Director of tennis, John Natali, was also very pleased with the tennis alumni match that occurred the same day. There were more than enough alumni to fill all of the courts and there were a number of competitive doubles matches that took place. Most alumni played two to three sets and enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere as well as catching up with old teammates. “Everyone seemed to be having a good time playing and visiting with one another,” said Coach Natali. “I liked having the match in the middle of our season because it gave us a chance to let the alums know how the season was progressing at the half-way mark.” Overall, Natali was very pleased with the turnout and felt that the hard work put into the event paid off. In addition, one of the athletes, Dario Garza, played in both the soccer game and tennis match as a former alumnus of each. Garza was a highly talented soccer and tennis player in college and a former head women’s tennis coach for Bethel. The next major event for alumni is November 11 and 12, which will be the official alumni weekend. This will bring in alumni from all over the country and provide a number of activities for former friends, classmates, and teammates to reconnect.  
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