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6's last kicks: The last Soenksen son takes the field for the Warriors

There were 15 years of soccer tradition on the sideline to witness Lincoln Lutheran’s game against Columbus Lakeview on Friday. You may know them as the Soenksens. Five brothers stood next to their mother to offer support and encouragement for their youngest brother, Uriah, as he played in his final home game. After a left-footed shot by Uriah was corralled by the Lakeview goalkeeper, family members either grimaced or brought their hands to their cheeks. At one point, a suggestion to “look up the middle, it’s open” was met with a thumbs-up from the senior midfielder. While his jersey may not have listed his name on the back, all you needed to see was his number to know he was a Soenksen. “It’s been a tradition, the No. 6,” Lincoln Lutheran coach Nathan Bassett said. “The first one wore it, then the second one wore it, and I didn’t give them a choice after the second wore 6.” The soccer tradition started when Jesse was a talented freshman on the Warrior team and has carried on with five more brothers over the last decade-and-a-half. Sisters Wendy and Esther, now a sophomore soccer player at Concordia, were the only two of the nine siblings that couldn’t make it to the game. “We’ve always been super close and we play soccer with each other all the time,” said Kevin Soenksen, the fourth-oldest of the six brothers. “It’s great. Especially with him (Uriah) being the last one here and I know it means a lot to him to have all of us watching him.” When Uriah dribbled into the side of the box and his shot was blocked, the family saw a potential game-winning goal disappear. But the ball deflected off different legs before landing at the feet of fullback Cayden Bregt, who slotted it in with less than three minutes remaining to lift the Warriors to a 1-0 win. It came after more critiques and notes were directed toward the youngest brother. “I do feel bad for him, because we do have very high standards for him,” Kevin said. “So we hold him up there really high and sometimes we come down on him a little hard.” After the game, the brothers lined up on the goal line, wearing their old jerseys that Bassett provided. All No. 6. “I wanted to do something special,” Bassett said. “So I thought I’d take a picture so they have it and then I can have it.” In those pictures are 15 years of Lincoln Lutheran soccer, with the family at the center of it all. “I think that’s a really special thing,” Kevin said. “Just about everyone except for Uriah has had one of our brothers playing with them. It’s cool to be such a part of this program for so long.” If you think Uriah’s upcoming graduation means the end of the Soenksens in soccer, think again. Youngest sister Grace is a freshman at Lincoln Lutheran and the older siblings still play whenever they can. The love of the game is cemented at the core of this family. “It’s a bittersweet moment,” Bassett said. “But I’ll see them again. All I have to do is go out to a soccer field.”

 

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