For Hawks soccer program, 8 is enough — or is it 16?

For Hawks soccer program, 8 is enough — or is it 16?
Dave Mast

Like all brothers, the six sets of siblings playing for Hiland like to have fun, but they all got along and got down to business to help Hiland produce another successful season.


Having a set of brothers playing on one varsity soccer team isn’t a rarity. Sometimes one might even see two or perhaps three sets of siblings on the pitch.

However, six of them?

That number is almost ludicrous, and chances are good it is a real rarity among OHSAA soccer teams through history.

However, six sets of brothers were roaming the field for Scott Bodiker’s Hiland Hawks during this recent tournament run that ended in regionals, and there also are two more sets with a brother on varsity and junior varsity, making eight all told.

“I think that is a pretty significant number,” Bodiker said of the band of brothers on the varsity and JV programs. “It sets up some pretty unique dynamics; that’s for sure.”

The brothers on the varsity team, listed with the older brother first, include Zeke and Luke Bodiker, Alex and Max Jones, Jackson and Christian Mullet, Zach and Cody Gingerich, Ohlen and Noah Troyer, and Kayden and Perrin Miller while older brothers and varsity starters Caedon Hershberger and Tom Leinbach’s younger brothers Conner Hershberger and Joel Leinbach play on the JV team.

One might have to forgive Bodiker and his coaching staff for calling out the wrong name when trying to get one’s attention, but the entire team seems to have worked through it without issue.

“I think overall it has worked out fine,” Bodiker said. “I honestly had a little bit of concern going into the season because a large number of the younger brothers are freshman, and we did see them coming.”

Bodiker said his main concern was how would the older brothers treat the younger ones. Oftentimes sibling rivalries and wanting to impress friends can leave the younger brothers on the outside looking in and even getting picked on, but Bodiker said they had nearly none of that type of thing going on this season.

“It’s a very unique dynamic, one that I haven’t ever had in this capacity,” Bodiker said. “In almost every case, these are good groups of kids with strong family values who are really passionate about soccer and who really love our program and have worked to move up to the varsity level,” Bodiker said.

Chances are good few coaches anywhere have had this many sets of brothers playing soccer at the varsity level.

He said the younger brothers have slid seamlessly into the varsity squad, and the older statesmen have, for the most part, been able to simply view them as teammates who are working hard to make the team better.

“There have been times when the older brothers are a little extra-hard on their siblings, but that is to be expected, and my guess is that they see the same thing at home,” Bodiker said. “I think that type of treatment is pretty typical of any older sibling dealing with a younger sibling.”

Because one of the sets of siblings is Bodiker’s, he gets to see firsthand how that playful and competitive nature plays out at home.

He said that type of treatment tends to make the younger siblings tougher mentally and physically, and it makes them more competitive because they have to work hard to keep up with their older sibling.

Bodiker, who over the years has been extremely loyal to his upperclassmen, said ushering this group of younger players into the fold was an easy decision because all of them bring plenty of talent and energy to the varsity crew.

“Some of them contribute a lot; others haven’t stepped into key roles yet, but they are all strong players and I have a lot of faith and confidence in all of them. They all haven’t necessarily contributed, but in the coming years, they will all be important players for us.”

Once the season started, Bodiker said he didn’t bring up the brothers issue very often, and for the most part, he and the coaching staff simply treated the band of brothers like regular players and teammates.

“Once the season gets rolling, you don’t give it much of a second thought,” Bodiker said. “They’re just teammates.”

Although he did say there were times when he might put them on opposite sides of the ball in drills together to see how they would react.

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