For brothers Dylan and Bryan Healy, playing soccer is a family tradition.
For the Healy family, however, the 2019 soccer season turned out to be a dream come true.
This year, the Healy boys were able to experience something that doesn’t come along very often for siblings when they were given the opportunity to play together on the Eastern View boys soccer team.
Dylan, a senior, has been on the Cyclones’ varsity squad since being called up from the junior varsity team during his freshman year.
Bryan is just a freshman, but it didn’t take him long to settle in to one of the most difficult and important positions on the field this spring: goalkeeper.
Dylan’s longevity at the varsity level and Bryan’s ability to take on such a key role on the team as a high school rookie are both a product of their upbringing. Their mom, Beth, got each of them involved in youth soccer from an early age.
“I actually coached each of the boys from u5-u8, along with both of my daughters Madison and Kyndall as well,” Beth Healy said. “As a matter of fact, I’m still coaching Kyndall now. So technically it’s my fault they all started playing soccer, because that’s what I knew I could teach them. Since then, they’ve chosen to continue to play because they developed a love for the game.”
Dylan and Bryan both admitted that being able to play together this year was special.
“It’s been good and we’ve had a lot of good times,” Dylan said. “Everything is better with a brother around,” he quipped.
“It was honestly an unreal experience being able to play with my brother,” Bryan said. “Just being on the same team with him was amazing.”
Another family tradition the Healy’s have is their affinity for wearing the No. 2 jersey. Beth wore No. 2 from her time in travel soccer all the way up to the college level, and her younger sisters followed in her footsteps. Her oldest daughter, Madison, then took the number on when she hit the field at age five and the tradition continued. In travel ball, both Dylan and Bryan were able to wear the jersey since they were on different teams.
Dylan has now worn No. 2 throughout his entire travel and high school careers. With that being the case, Bryan was forced to don No. 24 when he joined the team at Eastern View this season.
“I’m hoping to buy a goalie jersey next year for Bryan to have No. 2 for [Eastern View] if the school will allow it,” Beth said. “That way the tradition can carry on.”
Regardless of what number each of them wore on their respective shirts this year, Dylan and Bryan were able to share many good moments on the field together as both brothers and fellow athletes. They not only helped Eastern View sweep cross-town rival Culpeper, but the Cyclones finished their 2019 campaign with a school-record 12-5-1 mark and earned a first-round bye in the Region 4B tournament.
For Bryan, beating Culpeper stood out as his favorite memory that he was able to make alongside Dylan. For Beth, it was when the team beat Battlefield District power Courtland for just the second time in school history.
“When they beat Courtland it was awesome,” she said, “because it was special seeing how happy they were at the same time, for the same reason.”
The sport has forced the pair to become closer this year, if for no other reason than the added time they’ve spent with each other. Before games, it became a regular routine for them to go grab food together. From there, they’d hang out all the way up until it was time for that night’s game.
Dylan admits he’d give Bryan a hard time sometimes, but he’s quick to point out that that’s what older brothers do. Bryan said his big brother isn’t all about the teasing, however, as Dylan also gave him advice to help make him a better player as well.
“Playing together has brought them closer together as brothers because they would train together and hang out before the games,” Beth said. “All of that just made their bond stronger.”
Dylan graduated last week and plans to follow in his grandfather’s and father’s footsteps and become a police officer. He said he will miss both playing soccer and being on the same team as Bryan.
“I’m going to miss all the friends I’ve made from playing and all the trash talking,” Dylan said. “I’m going to miss all the arguing on the field with Bryan too, but a big thing I’m going to miss is how after a game he would always tell me how I could do better.”
Bryan admits next year will be different without his brother on the field with him.
“It’s just going to be weird because next year he will be in the stands instead of out on the field with me,” he said.
Their dad, Sean, believes they will realize how special playing together was even more as they grow older.
“Bryan has always looked up to Dylan so I think as they get older, that experience will mean even more to them than it does now,” Sean said. “As a dad, I couldn’t be prouder of my boys. Watching them be able to play together has been a great experience and it’s something that their mother and I will cherish forever.”