Not my brother's keeper? Not for this soccer duo!
During my freshman year of highschool I was blessed enough to play varsity basketball with my brother, Jonathan, who was a senior. Being a sibling on the same team is an amazing and sometimes frustrating experience. When I found out that Biola’s men’s soccer team had two starting brothers, I knew from experience that it would be a great story. This week I had the privilege of interviewing those two brothers, Aaron and Jared Fenlason. I walked into the interview with a piece of paper containing my predetermined “10 Questions,” but I’m throwing most of those out the window for this post. You see, ironically enough, the interview ended up consisting of mostly only one topic: Family.
Senior Jared Fenlason is a starting defender for the Eagles. His brother, Aaron, is a junior, and the starting goalkeeper. My first question was probably the one most people would wonder. “What is it like being brothers on the same team?” Aaron answered the question by saying that it is a good experience playing together, though both admitted that they can also push each other pretty hard in what Jared called “brotherly love.” This came as no surprise when I found out that the two had played together since they were four years old. And not just soccer. Jared and Aaron were both tri-athletes competing in soccer, baseball, and cross country.
With four other brothers (all of whom play sports), it’s not exactly a stretch to call the Fenlason’s a “sports family.” Jared and Aaron admitted that their house was hectic more often than not, as their parents tried to find a way to bring each of their six boys to practices and games. “Our parents came to every single one of our games, no matter how many of us were playing or how far away it was,” Jared said.
It would be easy to imagine this busy sports life keeping a family apart, but these brothers remember quite the opposite. You see, amidst all the craziness of their lives, the Fenlason’s still found time to sit around the dinner table at night and eat as a family. A simple thing? Perhaps. But it was also a sign that sports couldn’t pull them apart. In fact, sports brought, and continues to bring them together. Even though Mr. and Mrs. Fenlason live in San Diego you will see them in the stands at every Biola soccer game cheering on their sons.
Sports have not only brought the family together, but it was soccer specifically that kept Jared and Aaron close. Biola was not the first choice school for either Jared or Aaron. “A luck of the draw” Aaron said, referring to how he ended up here. “It took a lot of closed doors for God to lead me here.” But God had His way, and Aaron ended up at Biola, making the soccer team in the process. Jared was a sophomore at another college when he found out Aaron had made the team. He told me his thought process was, “Hey, if he can do it, I can.” Soon Jared also found himself at Biola, sports once again keeping the two brothers together.
The last question I asked the two was this: “Is there anything else I didn’t ask that you would like people to know?” To say Aaron’s answer surprised me would be a huge understatement. “Just how much I love my brother,” he said. This doesn’t mean Aaron and Jared spend every waking moment together. In fact, they admitted that many people don’t think they are close since they don’t spend much time together at Biola. But the Fenlason brothers have a bond that runs deeper than that. Jared said he won’t let anyone bad-mouth his younger brother. They protect each other and are “dependent on each other.”
You may not see Jared and Aaron walking around campus together, but you can bet you’ll see them on the soccer field come next game. And if you forget who is who. Aaron is the one protecting the goal for his brother. And Jared is the one protecting his brother in the goal. This is Jared and Aaron. Two soccer players. But more importantly...two brothers.