By Michelle Schmitt
Note: Both teams are in action on their respective fields this weekend. The men's basketball team host the annual Red & White Scrimmage on Saturday and the women's soccer team hosts Gonzaga at 11 am on Sunday.
A couple weeks ago during an EYEBRONCO production meeting, what started as "whatever you can, I can better" banter got serious and the first EYEBRONCO VERSUS was born. Two of Santa Clara's most prominent alums, Kurt Rambis '80 and Brandi Chastain '91, were right in the middle of it from the start.
EYEBRONCO reporters and Santa Clara men's basketball team members, John McArthur and Denzel Johnson, along with the rest of their team, are huge FIFA soccer fans. After some friendly banter about what was harder at the end of a game, a penalty kick or a free throw, McArthur and Johnson challenged fellow EYEBRONCO reporters and women's soccer team members Lauren Matheson, Cali Reis and Paige Robertson to a penalty kick-free throw competition. The five then went back to their teams and they all jumped at the idea!
Prior to starting the competition, both sides brought in their own experts. Bronco volleyball junior and EYEBRONCO reporter Ali Rambis invited her Dad, Kurt Rambis, to give the women's soccer team a few pointers at the charity stripe. After introductions, the school's leading scorer and four-time NBA champion, Rambis talked to those competing about shooting free throws and then watched them practice.
"It was awesome meeting and being coached by a Bronco legend – Kurt Rambis," said Matheson, a co-captain of the No. 19 Bronco women's soccer team. "It was a great experience to spend some time with him in the gym and we all had a lot of fun."
Robertson and Reis were both thrilled about the opportunity to work with a legend like Rambis "He was very patient in trying to teach us to shoot free throws," said Robertson. "It was such a wonderful experience!"
Reis added: "It was an amazing opportunity to meet and be coached by such an amazing former Santa Clara player. Not many people can say that!"
The men's basketball team wasn't to be outdone with their own celebrity coach. They went out to Stanton Field (Santa Clara's practice field) in search of Brandi Chastain. Chastain made probably one of the most famous penalty kicks in soccer history to lead the USA to the 1999 Women's World Cup.
Chastain, now a volunteer assistant coach with the women's soccer team, was more than happy to lend a hand to the cagers. She spoke to them about making penalty shots, including "if you put it on the frame of the goal, you have a chance to win."
"Brandi Chastain was great," said Johnson. "She told us the most important thing to do is clear your mind and have confidence."
Trasolini loved the opportunity to work with a legend like Chastain on the soccer field and said she told them to "go either power or finesse and just aim for a side." She also told Trasolini he would be a good soccer player.
Team Rambis , the women's soccer student-athletes, and Team Brandi, the men's basketball student-athletes, were now ready for action. Both teams shot penalty kicks first at Santa Clara's soccer practice field, Stanton Field, and then came inside the Leavey Center to shoot free throws. You have to watch the video to find out what happens …
Team Rambis included Aly Birgel, Sarah Jackson, Olivia Klei, Lauren Mathson, Cali Reis and Paige Robertson. Team Brandi included Marc Trasolini, Yannick Atanga, Niyi Harrison, Denzel Johnson, John McArthur and its own secret weapon, Nate Kratch.