For the Newman University soccer teams, it’s a family affair.
The men’s soccer team alone has four pairs of brothers playing this year, two sets of which are twins.
The Huie duo
Twins Nathan and Kenneth Huie have lived in the Wichita area their entire lives and graduated from Goddard High School. They’ve played soccer together since they were 5 years old, mostly as midfielders. At Newman, they hold defensive positions: Nathan as a left-back, and Kenneth as a right-back.
“We have chemistry, and we know where we’re going,” Kenneth, a double major in business data analytics and management information systems, said. “We play really well together.”
Nathan, who’s studying business management, adds that one of his favorite aspects of being on Newman’s soccer team is the excitement it brings.
“It’s new experiences every year,” he said. “It’s going to be something different no matter what because you meet new players, travel to new places and play new teams. It’s very cool.”
Both brothers agree that they’re looking forward to more in-person opportunities on campus this year and enjoy attending Newman together.
“I like going to college with my brother,” Kenneth said. “It makes it easy.”
Twins from Portugal
The other twins on the men’s soccer team are Duarte and Guilherme Mendes, who go by their nicknames, Du and Gui.
The sophomores from Lisbon, Portugal, wanted to attend college and play soccer at the same time, which is what brought them to America. The opportunity to do both is scarce in their home country, they said. Newman stood out to them specifically because of its esteemed education.
“We are proud to be here because it’s a good university,” Gui said.
Du especially enjoys living with fellow international students and Americans alike, as well as meeting new people.
“The fact that we know everyone because it’s a small university is great,” he said.
Du adds that he and his brother have felt nothing but welcomed at Newman.
“The people here are amazing,” he said. “Everyone treats us really well.”
While Du is a marketing major and Gui is pre-nursing, they both have common goals for their college experience in general and the upcoming soccer season: to have a better season than last year and to keep meeting new people from different cultures, like brothers Exodus Kasongo and Manasse Matala, who are also on the soccer team.
Brothers from Zimbabwe
Although Manasse is two years older than Exodus, they’re both entering Newman as first-year students this year. They were born in France but grew up in Zimbabwe before moving to Wichita about three years ago.
The brothers are grateful for financial aid, as it allowed them to attend Newman.
Exodus said, “For me, it was a big opportunity because I got a scholarship. I was really happy to be part of this family.”
They’re especially thankful for the chance to play collegiate soccer because back home, the brothers focused more on school and music, but zeroed in on soccer when they moved to the United States.
“When we came here, it was our big opportunity to play soccer,” Exodus said.
Manasse, a goalkeeper, started playing when he was 5 years old, and Exodus, a center, began when he was 7. Being brothers on the same team gives them an advantage when it comes to communicating on the field.
“Sometimes we have our secret talking, something like ‘control c or control d,’ and Exodus will know where to go and run,” Manasse said.
Lewis & Lewis
The same goes for brothers Ethan and Seth Lewis, too. The Andover High School graduates chose to attend Newman at the urging of former men’s assistant soccer team coach Martín Penafiel, who was also their high school coach.
The Lewis brothers have played soccer together since elementary school and are both freshmen this year, although Ethan is a year older. He took a gap year after high school to work before choosing to pursue his degree and play soccer at Newman. Both Ethan and Seth are planning to study business management.
“I’m just excited to be here,” Ethan said. Seth adds,“All the cool electives that Newman has to offer, I’m excited for.”
The women’s soccer team has a pair of sisters on the roster this year.
The Shay sisters — Makenzie, a sophomore, and Madison, a senior — are originally from Oklahoma and were drawn to Newman for its soccer and academic programs. For Makenzie, another big selling point was having her big sister pave the way before her.
“It is a true honor to play collegiate soccer with my sister,” she said. “Growing up, I both watched and played with Madison. As the younger sibling, I always dreamed to be just like her. My sister will forever be both an inspiration and comfort. I feel lucky to play with my best friend even if it is just one more year.”
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