First stadium soccer game cultivates a crowd

Josh Reiter, Sports Writer

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Bright lights shone, fans cheered on their fellow students, and the scoreboard lined up for two halves of soccer: It was time for Perry versus Southport soccer.
Because Falcon Stadium was built last year, the team never had a chance to play at home under the lights.This game was the first at the new stadium, rather than their previous playing field at Mary Bryan Elementary. Perry finally had the opportunity for its silver and blue stripes to shine against the red and white of Southport.
Seniors, Peng Sang, Van Duh Lian, David Mang, Kep Hnin, Lal Rin Mawi, and Steven Hlun, had an opportunity to play in the heated rivalry. Many players from both teams attend the same church and are familiar with each other. Bragging rights add sentimental value to the matchup, as well.
“Well, not only is Southport our school’s rival since the beginning of our history, but
Southport and Perry are the two schools in Indiana with the most Chin students,” Hnin says . “This creates more intensity on us, the Chin, to earn the bragging rights between the opposing schools.”
To get out word about the game, 2022 guidance counselor and boys soccer coach, Machy Magdalinos, spread the news across several platforms.
“I gave all of the players tickets to the game to hand out to the older generation, rather than younger,” Magdalinos says. “I want everyone to see how big this game means to the players, the school, and the Chin community.”
He also branched out to different viewers of the game, doing an interview with the Chin Cable Network “to get everyone who follows the channel to come out and witness monumental event,” according to Magdalinos.
“Southport is our rival school dating back to the ‘70s,” math teacher and assistant coach Levi Riggenbach, says. “The history between the two build up the hype towards every sporting event, not just soccer exclusively.”
The varsity game kicked off between the opposing sides as the referees’ watches read 7:30 p.m. The game didn’t see much action until the late minutes of the first half. The Falcons were fouled in Southport’s penalty restriction area, and Hlun was lined up face-to-face with the goalie.
He stepped up and drilled the ball into the back of the net. The first goal of the game was scored, and the Perry’s student section roared with cheer.
The half ended with Perry up 1-0, but there were still another 40 minutes of soccer to be played. The Falcon soccer team has had second half struggles, but fans and players were hopeful that this game would turn it around.
The second half started, and Southport fired back two early goals to take the lead. The student section was still faithful that their side could come back, but Southport put the dagger in Perry’s heart with a third goal, and eventually the game ending score, 3-1.
Despite the loss, the event was more than just a game. The game was home to passionate fans from both schools, the first game on turf, and culturally diverse communities watching rival schools battle out an 80-minute soccer game.
There are still countless games for fans to support their fellow Falcons. The next soccer game is Tuesday, September 18 at 7 p.m. at Whiteland Community High School.