SL's McDonald, Foster soon to be soccer rivals — for a day

Eric Foster and Brooks McDonald have been teammates on the soccer field and baseball diamond for as long as they can remember. It started with youth league teams through the American Youth Soccer Organization, and on baseball teams with the Tri-Cities Kids League. It progressed with Strikers travel soccer teams and eventually, high school baseball and soccer squads at Spring Lake High School.
Nate Thompson
Jun 29, 2011

 

“Brooks and I have always been great friends. It started at Holmes and Jeffers (Elementary schools) and just continued as we got older,” Foster said. “We’ve always been on the same baseball and soccer teams. We’ve never played against each other on different teams.”

That will change on Sept. 1, when Foster’s Alma College soccer team will host McDonald’s Holy Cross College (Ind.) squad in a non-conference contest at Alma’s Scotland Yard field.

The former Lakers said they encouraged their respective coaches to make the opportunity happen.

“We needed one more game to fill our schedule and I asked our coach, “Why don’t you get an NAIA school?’” Foster, thinking of McDonald’s school. “Our coach (Josh Oakley) is relatively new here, but he’s familiar with the NAIA programs and he made some calls and got it done. Both Brooks and I are really excited for it. We’ve got a lot of friends coming to watch.”

“We’ve been talking about something like this happening since Day 1 out of high school,” McDonald said with a laugh.

Foster said growing up, the duo were also close friends and soccer teammates with Grand Haven’s Mike Herman, who was tragically killed in an automobile accident in 2005. The memories of the three playing travel soccer remain vivid, Foster said, which makes it even more surreal that him and McDonald will be entering their senior seasons this fall.

McDonald is hoping for one last hurrah on what has been and up-and-down stay at Holy Cross, which is located in Notre Dame, Ind. McDonald transferred to the school from Ancilla, a junior college in Indiana.

“Last year was a struggle. Our coach was not the greatest and he resigned at the end of the year,” McDonald said of Saints’ 4-12-2 final record.

McDonald is encouraged, however, with the enthusiasm new coach Rhett Zych has brought to the program. The team showed promise by finishing near the top of a large Chicago-area tournament near the end of last season, proving to themselves that more wins are attainable.

“The talent is there, we just have to rid ourselves of fighting with each other and some of the other issues we had,” McDonald said.

McDonald expects to shifted from defense to an outside midfielder position, where his strong shooting and playmaking talents should be better utilized.

Foster’s Alma College team also struggled a year ago at the Division 3 level, finishing with a 4-14-2 record. Foster expects that win total to surge this fall and is excited about the strides the program has made under Oakley.

“Calvin and Hope are our two huge rivals, and we’ve taken them to the limit in our meetings last year, even forcing overtime (against Hope),” Foster said. “Coach has brought in a great recruiting class and I think we can compete.

“My expectations for myself is to become an MIAA champion,” he added. “I want to be apart of a team that helped get the program back to where it once was.”

Foster, a forward, was the only Scot to appear in all 20 games last season. He recorded an assist and five shots on goal.

“I’m more of a holding forward,” Foster said. “I tend to set things up for my teammates.”

Crossing paths on the field with his good friend on Sept. 1 will be “interesting,” McDonald said.

“Everytime we get together, we talk about it,” he said. “I’m just trying to be humble about it. I’m trying not to get too cocky.”

Foster sang a different tune, saying there has been a little trash-talk exchanged by both sides this summer.

“This is the first and only time we’ll play against each other. I’m sure we each want those bragging rights,” he said.
 

 

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