The way they perform together on the pitch and pal around off it, it might seem like Arlington Lamar sophomores Jordan Michie and Brennan Reuland are something more than simply girls soccer teammates: like best friends — or maybe even sisters.
These dynamic center-midfielders aren’t siblings. But they’re close to it. Michie and Reuland are first cousins. Their mothers are sisters. The duo, which spends every day together, brings that infectious family bond to the field. Michie and Reuland have combined to score 27 goals and have helped lift a young Lady Vikings team to a 6-3 start in 4-6A play.
“Since we’ve been playing together all our lives, we really make runs kind of off each other,” said Michie, who has scored a team-leading 15 goals. “We play like a team. All of us play really well together. But I know where she’ll be and she knows where I will be. We can just play off each other really well with give-and-goes.”
If she gets three goals, I won’t be mad or anything. It’s healthy competition that helps us get better.”
- Brennan Reuland, on her teammate and cousin, Jordan Michie
Reuland and Michie’s styles of play make an ideal fit. Both are unselfish. Both are skilled ball-handlers and shooters. And each brings out the best in the other. “I see more of the field,” said Reuland, who has 12 goals. “She’s more up. I can see more of the runners and so I can distribute the ball.”
There’s also a sibling rivalry of sorts. Each tries to outdo the other. “We push each other to do better, because the other doesn’t want the other one to win,” Michie said. “That’s why we play so well. If she scores, I’ll score. If I score, she’ll score.”
But these cousins are also each other’s biggest fan. “If she gets three goals, I won’t be mad or anything,” Reuland said. “It’s healthy competition that helps us get better.”
The talented duo has helped a young squad improve throughout the season. Despite starting four freshmen at times, Lamar has shown itself to be one of the district’s top teams. The Lady Vikings headed into Friday’s home game against Arlington High in a tight race with the Lady Colts and Mansfield for the second through fourth positions in 4-6A.
“We’re playing pretty well,” Lamar coach Kay Giocondo said. “We’ve had a lot of injuries. We’ve been knocked down a little bit. It’s like I’ve told them: ‘In life, you get knocked down. You’ve got to find a way to get back up and keep fighting the battle.’ That’s what they’ve been doing. They keep competing. I’m proud of them.”
Lamar’s particularly adept at distributing the ball. The team passes well and favors finding the open player rather than one person taking all the shots. The team-first attitude helps Lamar excel. But there have been situations when the coach has seen players hesitate to take the open shot.
“They’re playing for each other,” Giocondo said. “They’re patient with each other. They move the ball around extremely well. There may be some times when they’re hesitant to take the shot because someone else might have a better shot. But they really truly play as a team.”
Reuland has noticed her younger teammates are becoming more comfortable on offense. “I feel like the freshmen at the beginning were a little timid to shoot,” Reuland said. “But they’ve gotten a lot of our goals, so that’s progressing.”
In the Lamar soccer family, everyone has a key role to play. “Our whole team, we play off each other,” Reuland said. “If we all pick each other up, I feel like we play better.”
Arlington Martin, Arlington and Arlington Lamar are the Class 6A girls soccer teams that appear to be playoff bound. Though the Lady Vikings are in fourth place, the rest of the district trails them by at least two games in the standings.
Despite a preseason plagued by injury and illness, the Lady Warriors had a 9-0-0 record in district before an interesting matchup with second-place Mansfield on Friday. The Lady Colts entered their Friday night game at 4-3-0 and Lamar was 4-3-0.
Arlington Seguin’s girls were struggling at 1-8-0 in 9-5A play entering their Friday night game hosting Everman.
With Sam Houston, Bowie and Fort Worth Paschal dominating the district standings, the only drama in District 4-6A is over the fourth and final playoff spot.
Lamar held the spot on Friday, before its game against a struggling Arlington squad, but the Vikings were just ahead of fifth-place Martin, which was set to face another struggling team in Mansfield.
With just four games left on the district slate after Friday’s games, the battle for fourth place could come down to March 10, when the Vikings will visit the Warriors at 6:30 p.m. The Vikings will need to play tough to that point, however — two of their final three games will be against Bowie and Paschal.
Seguin was hanging onto the fourth-place spot in 9-5A entering its bye on Friday.
Stephen English: email@example.com, @sbenglish74