Many teams may say that they’re close or like a family, but few get to say that they're actually blood- related to a teammate. Maryville soccer is one of the anomalies to hold a characteristic like this.
The roster consists of 22 individual players. Included in this is a band of brothers are a set of twins and a few cousins to top it off. While these familial ties are strong, many aren’t as close to the likes of Jaxon and Quinn Pettlon. While they may be three years apart, their bond on the soccer field is rarer than that of any other two individual players.
“We used to play on Twisters together,” senior defender Jaxon Pettlon said. “Obviously at all of the family reunions, we’d go out and touch the ball a little bit. We knew the time was coming to play with each other since I’m a senior and he's a freshman.”
For most, the age gap may be a disadvantage, but for Jaxon and Quinn, it was a chance to learn and adapt to better themselves and each other. As they both play the same position and have somewhat of the same soccer background, rivalry and competitiveness are sure to come up, but they see this as a chance to grow and hone their skills.
“I think they're genuinely glad when the other does something good on the soccer field or in any competition,” Kenny Pettlon, Quinn’s dad, said. “I think they are just competitive in general. I think it's good in nature and good in heart. I don’t think there’s any envy.”
While they are seen as teammates and leaders on the backline, they are first and foremost known as family. This bond allows them to have advantages that no other teammates have. Their trust in one another and support for the success of the other is the backbone of both their team and familial bond.
“It’s nice to know someone will have your back and will always have your back,” Anna Pettlon, Jaxon’s mom, said. “They’re totally different. They don't want to be compared, but they do enjoy playing together.”
As many freshmen make their way into high school and onto the soccer team, the coming of Quinn Pettlon is something special for Jaxon Pettlon, as it will be their first and final year playing together for the Spoofhounds. As Jaxon Pettlon starts his final season for the ‘Hounds, and Quinns high school career is just beginning, the cousins are planning to relish this year as a closing chapter to their lifelong partnership.
“We did get a lot of new freshmen, so there is a lot of new blood coming in,” Jaxon Pettlon said. “We’re going to try and make the most of it and play with each other so we can have something to remember.”
This tie between cousins isn’t a new connection for the family. Both Quinn and Jaxon Pettlon’s dads used to play soccer together. A bond like this allows a passion for soccer, and close connections to teammates, to be passed down and shared through generations. A unique circumstance like this shows that the passion for a sport and familial ties will make the best athletes and teammates hopefully passed on for many more generations.
“It's one of those things; when your parents play baseball, you typically play baseball. It's just kind of filtered down to every one of the kiddos,” Anna Pettlon said. “That tradition and that love for soccer has filtered through.”
As both the season and their high school partnership started to take off, both boys are looking forward to using their unique perspectives to increase their postseason percentages and make lasting memories while they're at it. Due to their different perspectives on the game, the ties they share may be the key to success for both the entire Spoofhound team and for their individual families alike.
“From what I know, the only sport Quinn has ever played was soccer, so he kind of just has that under his belt. He loves it, so he’s going to remember it even if we do lose in the postseason,” Jaxon Pettlon said. “I think we’re going to try and make the most of it and make it one to remember.”