Tuesday, October 15, 2013
As high school soccer teams took the field Tuesday evening, some teams also took the time to honor one of their opponents.
Before the Campus Colts started their senior night game, they paid tribute to a rival: Clayton Matzen, a Derby soccer player who died in a car accident over the weekend.
A moment of silence and the release of 13 green balloons were the Campus team's way of honoring Matzen, a captain of the Derby soccer team. Matzen wore the number 13.
"Derby and Campus are great and huge rivals, but we want to show our camaraderie for them," Campus coach Brett Womack said. "Our hearts and our prayers go out to them."
The Colts were not the only rivals showing their support. Wichita East High players took the field Tuesday wearing blue armbands with the initials C.M. and the number 13. Blue, friends said, was Matzen's favorite color.
"I wanted to do it because I played club (soccer) with him," Jackson Petersen, an East senior, said. " For countless years, I played against him and with him and he was a really good friend to me."
Matzen was considered a friend by most who knew him.
"He was a big part of the soccer community in Wichita and way more than that," Nicholas Cho, another East senior, said.
East Coach Dylan Gruntzel said, while the bands honor Matzen's memory, they also show support to members of the East team who are dealing with the loss of a friend.
"A big thing we try to do here as a team is to show that we're a family and this is definitely something to support those guys that knew him well," Gruntzel said.
Those who knew Matzen well said he was a great person on and off the soccer field.
"I'd never hear him trash talk when I played with him," Cho said. "He was always respectful, never disrespected anyone, never talked back to anyone."
That is a respect being returned by those who say they will not forget a good opponent and an even better friend.
"He will be missed," Petersen said. "I'll just play for him every time now."