An Inside Look at Homeschool Soccer

Christian Homeschool Family is a Soccer Family

John Ball, VOX Reporter and Videographer

Although when you think of high school soccer, “brick and mortar” schools come to mind, homeschool soccer players around the country are competing in a highly organized system of competitive soccer. Brendan and Olivia Ortmann, 16 and 15, are part of the Greenwood, Indiana soccer team known as the Southside Thunder, which is just one of many homeschool teams across the country. Brendan competes on the high school Boys Varsity and JV teams, and Olivia is on the high school Girls Varsity. With their fall season complete, the Ortmanns took some time out of their busy life to shed some light on life as a homeschool soccer player.  

Brendan, homeschooled for virtually all his life, has been playing soccer for nine years, having taken a break from soccer for two years during middle school. Brendan began playing on the club level as a freshman. He started as wing/defender, but now spends most of his time playing either center or right wing (offensive positions).

o ortmann1 resizedOlivia has been playing soccer for a total of ten years, a length of time which she says is crazy.Both Brendan and Olivia love playing with the Thunder, and it has grown into a family affair, with one of their younger sisters playing on the middle school team, their mother chipping in as the teams photographer and their father helping out with Varsity Boys’ statistics. Having three siblings all practicing and playing several times a week is not easy on the fuel tank, though. Being part of the Thunder team means driving to out-of-the-way places to compete, sometimes out of state. And the action almost never stops.

Soccer helps you to learn how to work as a team, which will help a lot later in life.”

— Olivia Ortmann

The Southside Thunder is active year-round with regular outdoor fall and spring seasons, as well as an indoor winter season. The fall season is perhaps the most competitive, culminating in the National Homeschool Soccer Championships in Evansville, Indiana (abbreviated NHSC). In the NHSC, top-ranked homeschool soccer teams from the eastern part of the country face-off for the ultimate bragging right: #1 in the U.S.A.

This season in the NHSC, the Boys Varsity finished with two wins, one loss and one tie, ranked #15 in the country. This was their third season in a row finishing in the top three in their division. The Thunder know how to play fairly and cleanly as well: they have won the Sportsmanship Award for their division in 2013 and 2015. The Girls Varsity, a newer team, did not attend the NHSC, but they attended Regionals and State for the past two years, and have finished in third place both times. However, they hope to compete in the NHSC for the first time in the 2016 season.

Olivia says that she loves playing soccer because not only is it an intensely competitive sport and highly fulfilling after a win, but also, “Soccer helps you to learn how to work as a team, which will help a lot later in life.