Written by G.J. Melia
Listen to the interview with the McClanahan’s.
Bryce and Andrew McClanahan have been playing soccer since they were in kindergarten. Though Andrew is one year younger in school, they have played soccer on the same team for seven years.
When Andrew was in third grade, his team fell apart and his father said it was a great opportunity for him to compete with Bryce at another grade higher than his own. Andrew said he remembers being disappointed that his team had folded and a little intimidated to play a grade higher.
“We started playing recreational soccer and when Andrew’s team folded, he joined my team,” Bryce said. “After that we started playing premier soccer in fifth and sixth grade.”
Since Andrew is one year younger, he had to join another team the fall of Bryce’s freshman year. Andrew said he was excited for the challenge of trying out for a new team. He also said that he was much more confident for the tryout because he had played a grade higher than everyone on the team he was trying out for.
“I liked trying out for a different team, and it helped me become a better player at the same time,” Andrew said. “Plus, I got to watch Bryce play high school and that helped to prepare me for me for freshman year.”
Going into freshman year Andrew was nervous, but he said he was prepared and had Bryce to look up to. He said he was eager to compete and compare his skills to [media-credit id=1708 align=”alignright” width=”200″][/media-credit]players much older than him.
“I already knew the coaches, so I knew what to expect,” Andrew said. “I saw the levels of play and tried to play at the highest level I could.”
Bryce’s freshman year was the first time he had played without Andrew in a long time. He went on to say that it was much different and there were pros and cons of playing without Andrew.
“There’s good and bad of not playing with Andrew,” Bryce said. “When playing with Andrew we have good chemistry and we both know what each other’s strengths and weaknesses are.”
Bryce said when they aren’t playing together they tend to try to play more by themselves rather than open up and use other players. Bryce and Andrew both agreed that they play much better when they are on the field together because they are more able to get the team involved and use their teammates as well.
“At practices we push each other and coaches like to put us on different sides because we work harder against each other,” Bryce said. “Being on the same team definitely is an advantage though.”
Bryce said on their club team they take control by communicating and leading their teammates, while on their high school team they try to find their role on the team. In high school, they are able to play with some players that are better than players on their club team.
“We are leaders on our club team and our team relies on us to make plays in order to be successful.” Andrew said.
They feel they play well together because they play the same position and play with similar intensity and skill. They both play center midfield and always know where one another are on the field.
This past high school season, Bryce played varsity and Andrew played junior varsity, but also had some playing time on varsity.
“I feel like this year I was a role player,” Andrew said. “I was just trying to keep the ball for the team and not trying to mess up.”
Whether it is club soccer or high school; neither of them really have a favorite. They both love being out on the field.
“Playing for your school is pretty cool,” Bryce said. “It’s always fun playing in front of all the people you know.”
Bryce and Andrew said they have a sibling rivalry all the time. In practice they pressure each other to step up and test the other. The rivalry goes on throughout practices, games, or even just kicking the ball around; they are always challenging each other to get better.
The sibling rivalry goes back for as long as they can remember, but really since Andrew joined Bryce’s soccer team. They remember the intensity during practice and the after game bragging of who had the better match.
“It makes everything a lot better at practice so we can be ready for game day,” Bryce said. “Either way, in the end we know that we’re supporting the other one 100 percent.”
[media-credit id=1708 align=”alignleft” width=”251″][/media-credit]“When one of us beats the other, the other one is always right there fighting back,” Andrew said. “It always helps to have a little bit more pressure on you to perform better.”
Andrew says that he has benefitted greatly from playing a grade ahead in soccer. He feels much more comfortable playing on the ball. Andrew said that playing a grade ahead is much faster pace than his grade level and that has helped him be a better player.
“Playing up a year is faster and when I play back at my age, I feel much more experienced,” Andrew said. “I can settle the ball down much easier and control it.”
They are both looking forward to the upcoming high school season. Bryce is ready to play high school soccer after missing the last game of the season with a bone bruise and chipped bone in his left knee.
“I know we’ll have a good team next year,” Bryce said. “Hopefully we can compete and win state.”
Both Bryce and Andrew are planning on playing in college and would love to play on the same team.
“Playing together would definitely be the best option for us,” Bryce said. “It would be awesome if we could play together in college.”