East Valley Tribune: ’90 soccer co-champs hoping for a Replay

By Mark Heller, Tribuneevt1

Let the controversy continue.

They’ve all seen the video, whether it was on a VHS tape player stuffed into the back of a closet, or on YouTube.

Goal. Or no goal.

Whether former Tempe Marcos de Niza’s Steve Service’s header crossed the line during the second overtime of the 1990 boys 5A soccer state championship depends on each player’s affiliation, but documented history says it didn’t. And since Arizona Interscholastic Association rules permitted a tie nearly 20 years ago, the result was a split championship between the Padres and Phoenix Brophy.

“I remember walking off the field saying, ‘OK who’s going to take the penalty kicks?’ Then it was over,” said Jimmy Deutsch, then a Brophy junior who currently coaches club soccer in the Valley. “I didn’t even know that was the rule. It was weird to be a co-champion, very anticlimatic.”

The official history books can’t be revised, but there could be a reenactment.bcp

Brian Wendel was a sophomore at Brophy in 1990 who currently lives in New York. In February he caught wind that Gatorade was sponsoring a program in which past high school championships could be replayed after the fact.

Wendel went to work. He stayed in touch with a few former teammates and opponents through the years, and through e-mails, phone calls and Facebook, tracked down nearly everyone else.

Wendel started a Web site (https://1990replay.wordpress.com) and sent in a 200-word proposal to the Gatorade Replay program to be considered. Though the proposal is among a handful of national scenarios still in the running, a decision won’t be made by the Replay program for a couple more weeks.

If chosen, the match would likely take place in Arizona next fall, and each school would receive $10,000.

Wendel reconstructed the Brophy roster, while former MLS standout Greg Vanney and Morgan Lee helped organize the Marcos de Niza side. So far, 36 players between the two schools have verbally agreed to play.

“It’s pretty funny how it’s picking up steam,” former Padre Scott Hileman said. “(Wendel) came out of nowhere a few weeks ago, now I’m getting e-mails from guys back then I haven’t heard from.”

Some guys still live in the Valley. Others live 2,000 miles (or more) away. Some still play in recreational soccer leagues, a few are coaches. They are lawyers, real estate brokers, firefighters, partners in a steakhouse, doctors and the Scottsdale Saguaro baseball coach (Ryan Dyer).

The two teams had a combined 10 players who went on to Division I colleges and six played professionally, yet it was the only state title tie in Arizona high school soccer history.

“I was extremely irritated because we scored,” Vanney said. “I’ve seen video, all of it.

“We won (state titles) for the next two years, and there’s college, pro and MLS, but a lot of guys’ high school careers is what they remember most.”

Subplots go beyond the talent level and a strange championship ending. Brophy’s Scott Garlick lives 15 minutes away from Hileman in Tampa, Fla. Both work in commercial real estate and met their wives in Tampa.

Garlick and Vanney were roommates when they played together in the MLS with Dallas. Vanney and former Padres teammate Kenny Wright also have a stake in local club soccer and the Competitive Athletes Training Zone in Chandler.

Former Brophy assistant John Kelly later became an agent for players from both schools. If the Replay game happens, he will coach Brophy because former Broncos coach Paul Micheletti passed away in 1991.

There are at least a half-dozen more intra- and inter-team connections.

“I think it’d be hard-pressed to find another tie with the subplots we do,” Garlick said.

Brophy and Marcos played each other again for the 1991 state championship, which Marcos won 4-2 after spotting the Broncos a 2-0 lead at intermission.

Even that doesn’t inspire trash-talking and angst like the 1990 match.

With players now in their mid-to-late 30s, it won’t be as pretty to watch as the glory days. But most of these two rosters can still play, or believe they can rouse themselves into reasonable soccer shape in time.

This won’t end a debate, but it would make for a classic reunion of talent and friendship, and, for two hours, resurrect a once-bitter finale.

“You can’t change the result or history, but you can win the verbal battle,” Vanney joked. “Someone has to come out on top. We run into one another, so who has the upper hand in social discussions is what matters.”


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