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Steve Service's header midway through the second overtime session hit the crossbar, ricocheted down toward the goal line, and this is where the controversy starts.
|Greg Vanney, who had a 13-year MLS career, still remembers a high school soccer tie that he wants to replay|
Nineteen years has elapsed and that play remains the center of conversation surrounding the 1990 Arizona Class 5A boys' soccer state final that ended in a scoreless draw between Marcos de Niza and Brophy Prep. Observers consider the match to be the greatest collection of high school soccer talent on one field in Arizona history.
The starting lineups that day included no fewer than 10 college-bound players, including six who went on to professional soccer careers, most notably former U.S. national team defender Greg Vanney of Marcos and former MLS keeper Scott Garlick of Brophy.
Now Brian Wendel, then a sophomore on that Brophy squad, wants the teams to reconvene to replay the championship match that was never settled, and he's not alone. As of Friday, 32 players from the squads -- including Garlick and Vanney -- have verbally committed to replaying that Feb. 10, 1990 match if selected for the Gatorade Replay, a program designed to have participants of past high school contests play the contest over years after the fact.
Once learning about the Gatorade Replay, Wendel used Facebook to reconnect with his former Brophy teammates to rally support. He then contacted Vanney, whom he competed against in high school and club soccer. Vanney turned to high school teammate Morgan Lee to gather the Marcos players. Meanwhile, Wendel built a Web site dedicated to the 1990 match and made a pitch to Gatorade to be considered for the next replay.
"It would mean a lot to put that high school jersey on one more time and to relive the greatest moment in our high school career," said Wendel, who is now 35 and lives in New York. "It was a special time in our lives, and we could share it with our spouses and families and give back to our schools."
The 1990 final pitted the senior-loaded Brophy squad against an up-and-coming Marcos program that went on to win state titles in 1991 and 1992. Brophy's lineup that day, in addition to Garlick playing defensive center midfield, included Derick Brownell, who played in the MLS with San Jose, and Milo Iniguez, who played professionally in the World Indoor Soccer League. Scott Hileman, Marcos' keeper that day, ultimately played in the Major Indoor Soccer League. His Marcos teammates included sophomores Vanney, who was playing forward, Kenny Wright, who later played at UCLA and with the Arizona Thunder indoor team, and Dorian Speed, who played soccer and baseball in college before turning pro in baseball and spending five years in the minor leagues.
"I probably played 1,000 games after that, but I still remember that game," said the 34-year-old Vanney, who had a 13-year MLS career and spent 1997-2005 as a member of the U.S. national team. He was a sophomore in that 1990 final. "I remember it was an even game, a physical game. Aside from the opportunity we had, there were not a ton of opportunities."
"A game of that impact doesn't end in a tie," said Kaczmarczyk, a 37-year-old Denver resident who still plays in adult leagues. "To play 90 minutes, play overtime, and for it to stay the way it was when the game started was tough to deal with. & [Replaying the match] is going to mean a lot to me. If we win, I'll be able to sleep at night knowing 20 years later we came through."
"A lot of people have it in the back of their minds that it didn't finish the right way," said Hileman, then Marcos' senior keeper who is 36 and resides in Tampa, Fla. "I'd like to go play. I want to get out and settle the score."
Hileman recalls returning to midfield after the second overtime session and being surprised to learn the match was over.
"I was expecting another coin toss, and for us to go to penalty kicks," he said.
At the time, the Arizona Interscholastic Athletic Association used penalty kicks for advancement during the state tournament, but let state finals end in ties. The Brophy-Marcos match marked the first large-school co-championship in Arizona.
The Mesa News, in its match recap, declared: "Both teams will get trophies. Both teams can call themselves state champs. But for both Marcos de Niza and Phoenix Brophy Prep there is an empty feeling."
That empty feeling apparently lives on today.
John Kelly, who was in graduate school at nearby Arizona State, was Brophy's assistant coach at the time and later served as an agent for the professional careers of Brownell, Garlick, Iniguez, Speed and Vanney. He has committed to returning to coach the Brophy squad despite his connections to both teams.
"I think for all concerned, there's a bit of unfinished business," he said.