On Friday August 18, former Pumas returned to the area to play in alumni games against members of the current women's and men’s soccer teams at Reach 11 Sports Complex. The women hosted the 14th Annual Sarah Sharpe Alumni Game and the men held their inaugural alumni game.
The games featured alumni who were student-athletes at PV as recently as 2016 and as far back as 2002. It was a highly successful event attended by over 40 alumni in addition to members of the current Puma teams.
This year’s alumni games served as the 2017 debut for new coaches on both the men’s and women’s sides for the Pumas. Jon Ruzan, formerly the head coach for the women’s team, has taken the rains on the men’s side. Newcomer Ivan Dizdar is now at the helm of the women’s team.
The women’s Sarah Sharpe Alumni Game was founded by Puma Athletics in 2004. This game is played each year to honor a very special Puma, Sarah Sharpe, who lost her life while in college. Sarah’s family, specifically Brad and Nancy Sharpe, have been involved with the program since their daughter Sarah played for the Pumas, and remain so to this day.
The game was exciting as both teams featured members with NJCAA National Championship rings, including Ashley Stein who won a National Championship with the Pumas as a player and coach. The game ended with an exhilarating five goals and plenty of opportunities.
“The Sharpe’s involvement in our women’s soccer program is something that we look forward to every year,” said Athletics Director Christina Hundley. “Our women love having them at our games, and they are surely our biggest fans. The Sharpe’s have always been generous benefactors of the women’s program and for that, we are extremely grateful.”
First year men’s coach Jon Ruzan took on organizing the program’s inaugural alumni game. The response was tremendous, with many of the alumni performing as if they still hit the pitch regularly.
"We are thrilled by the support and overwhelming response of the PVCC men's soccer alumni,” said coach Ruzan. “More than 30 alumni and past coach Barry Van Patten made our inaugural men's alumni game a tremendous success. They not only helped our current players see our long-standing soccer tradition, but also gave us some great pre-season competition."
Athletics Director Christina Hundley added, “Connecting the present and the past, both alumni games are a great opportunity for the past players to reconnect with the program they have helped build and make contact with current Pumas and coaching staffs. It also serves as an annual opportunity for current Pumas to meet the alumni who helped pave the way for where they stand today.”
The 2017 season is officially off and running. Schedules can be found here:
Thank you Alumni! Go Pumas!