Former Ball State soccer players returned to campus April 17 to take on the women’s soccer team in its alumni game.

Head coach Craig Roberts said the goal was to bring players and alumni together.

“It’s not necessarily about the end result,” he said. “It’s the coming together of the program and showing respect.”

The day was split into two events, beginning with a match between the Cardinals' current team against the alumni. The playful banter between the two teams quickly became grounds for bragging rights when the active players won 6-1.

Sophomore Emily Scott said the atmosphere that surrounded the game was more of a reunion than a game.

“We’re used to playing super competitive games, so to get out here and actually have fun and not be so concerned with winning or losing, I think is a good opportunity for us,” she said. “And also getting to interact with the alumni is always fun.”

After the first game ended, Roberts mixed the two teams together. Now donning red and yellow uniforms, the second game began with current and former players playing side-by-side. Alumna Michelle Black said it was a great experience to lace up her cleats again.

“It’s fun because we haven’t played forever, and [it was fun] to play against the younger girls and see what talent they have and to get our feet back on the ball,” she said.

The second match also featured players in positions they had never played before. Scott, who has never played goalie, found herself minding the nets.

“I was more concerned with getting hit in the face, which is why I was excited [the ball] didn’t hit me, and I saved it,” she said.

Alumna Cailey Starsk said it is important for players to return and stay connected with the program after their careers are over.

“It’s good to support [the current players] and show them that for the future you should have friends outside of soccer,” she said. “Coming back together is really important ... to keep in touch and make sure we all help each other out.”

By the end of the match, the red team had fallen to the yellow team 2-1, but no one really seemed to care much. What did matter, Roberts said, was the camaraderie the current Cardinals shared with their predecessors.

“It’s always an honor to have them come back and to see them and to see how they’ve matured and gone on to having families and gone on to being successful in their careers,” Roberts said. “And it’s also a good opportunity for our current players to relate to them and to see what they’ve aspired to become.”