Memories and laughs were in abundance, joining some friendly competition as current and past South Pasadena High athletes met last Saturday in the school’s annual alumni girls’ soccer game.
Commonly held during winter break, the matchup broke away from the usual format and instead debuted as a March fundraiser for the program.
“Time moved on, and the tradition fell by the wayside,” explained Noel Garcia, a SPHS alumni and now a parent, said in an email. “As with many of the sports at South Pasadena High School, girls’ soccer is supported by the SPHS Booster program’s beloved Bingo Nights.”
Garcia, noting that COVID cases were still high throughout the winter months, forced the cancellation of bingo nights, a long-standing Saturday evening ritual on campus, “and the idea for making the alumni game into a fundraiser grew,” she said.
Erin Donovan, a SPHS soccer alum and member of a Tigers’ CIF championship team, came up with the idea “because she wanted to support the girls team which gave her so many good memories throughout her life,” said Garcia.
Getting her share of applause during player introductions was Donovan, a mother and attorney today, who “continues to be a stellar soccer player,” praised Garcia.
Graduating classes from 1989-2015 were represented, showcasing their talents on the field under stormy skies while contributing to the school’s girls’ soccer program, which has built a solid legacy over the years.
Despite the downpour “many from the community came out to enjoy the game, buy SPHS merchandise and support girls’ soccer,” said Garcia.
Once the game got underway, the first half belonged to the alumni, which built a 4-2 lead at the half. “Age and fatigue,” insisted Garcia, caught up with the alumni after intermission and the combined SPHS varsity and junior varsity team prevailed, winning 9-6.
The winners got a solid performance out of Sadie Abelson, the daughter of Larry Abelson, a longtime AYSO Region 214 volunteer referee, who officiated this one. He was busy issuing yellow cards, three going to the high school unit and one to the alumni squad.
Smiles were bright once the contest was over as players recognized the new concept served its purpose. “Donations are still coming in to support the SPHS girls’ soccer team, and the hope is to make the fundraiser an annual event!” said Garcia.