Deering’s Memorial Field will be the place to be Saturday, Aug. 26, as Portland and Deering meet in a first-ever alumni soccer game following the Casco Bay Cup.
When Portland and Deering meet on the gridiron Thanksgiving Day, fans pay attention, regardless of the teams’ records.
Two Portland High seniors, Aaron Hoekstra and Sam Mermin, now hope to produce the same kind of excitement on the pitch and have helped organize a first-ever Portland versus Deering alumni boys’ soccer game which will be contested Saturday, Aug. 26 at 6:15 p.m. at Deering’s Memorial Field.
The game will be preceded by the sixth annual Casco Bay Cup round-robin tournament between the Portland, Deering and Waynflete varsity boys’ teams, which begins at 2 p.m.
Hoekstra and Mermin advanced the idea as part of their Senior Capstone project.
“We hope it will become a yearly tradition,” Mermin said. “We picked soccer because it’s an international game and brings the community together. We want it to become like the Thanksgiving Day football game.”
“I like the idea that people new to the city can get involved,” Hoekstra said. “Everyone knows soccer and it’s popular with the immigrant community.”
Portland and Deering are fierce rivals on the pitch. A year ago, the Bulldogs upset the Rams in the Class A South quarterfinal en route to a trip to the regional final. While Hoekstra and Mermin are hoping to enjoy another deep playoff run this fall, they are first helping to spread the word about the alumni game.
“We’re getting real refs so the game won’t get too rowdy,” said Hoekstra.
“We hope the game becomes a big tradition and I’d love to play in the game in the future,” Mermin said.
The boys said that the initial alumni game will be a boys’ game only, but if it takes off, a girls’ contest could be added in the future.