Forty-eight alumni turned out at Pettine Sports Complex Saturday, July 20, for what will be an annual Central Bucks West Girls’ Soccer Alumni Game. The article below is sponsored by Central Bucks West Girls’ Soccer. (Photos provided courtesy of CB West girls’ soccer.)
Central Bucks West girls’ soccer boasts a storied history.
Eight state championships in just over two decades speaks for itself, but only one of those – the 2014 state title – came in the last decade. Once the model of stability, West became a revolving door for coaches in recent years with four coaches in five years before Mike Moyer took over the helm midway through the 2017 season.
The second-year coach is looking to bring a return to the stability that was trademark of a program that was a perennial state power. The results in the standings were immediate. After winning just nine SOL games in the three preceding seasons combined, the Bucks finished second to eventual state runner-up Pennridge in the standings with an 8-4 record last fall. They were 14-5 overall after winning just 20 games in the three prior years combined.
“The turnover in coaches for the girls’ program – it’s just been unstable for five or six years,” Moyer said. “For myself, knowing the tradition of the girls’ side and knowing the passion all these players had years and years ago, it needs to come back to that.”
With that in mind, Moyer planned an alumni game that was held Saturday, July 20, at the Coach Pettine Sports Complex.
“Obviously, with me being an alumni and me knowing how much the girls’ team has celebrated, I just couldn’t believe there wasn’t an alumni game,” Moyer said. “So I started putting my feelers out, and everybody just wanted it to happen.
“We came up with a date, I got some shirts made, we put it out on social media, and we had 48 girls back to the 80s sign up and show up. We had 200 people on the sidelines watching the game.”
Moyer received an assist from his sister, Maggie Moyer, who was part of four straight state titles in the 90s.
“Obviously, I knew her and her friends, and it just blossomed into the other four state championship teams,” the Bucks’ coach said. “With the girls I coached the past couple of years, they wanted to come back. It was just so cool to see all the different generations playing with each other, sharing stories. It was fun.”
The game was an opportunity for alums to not only play a sport they love but to reminisce. More importantly, it was a stepping stone to bringing back a sense of pride for a program that was once a standard bearer for the spot.
“I talked to all the current players, and I made sure that they went around and introduced themselves to different girls and just made sure they got different perspectives from when they played and how much it meant,” Moyer said. “I think it was a really positive night.”
Maggie Moyer ('96) and Shea McCarty ('14) were captains of the "older" and younger teams, respectively. McCarty's team, comprised of players Class of 2007 to present, edged Moyer's squad 4-3, but on this night, the outcome was secondary to the experience.
Central Bucks West Girls’ Soccer PIAA State Championships
“Alumni Night brought back the ‘small town’ feel that is hard to find anymore. I loved seeing the generations of families that this amazing program has touched and has been a part of for so long. It is so much more than just a game.
“My best memory is coming back from the state title to a huge crowd of people cheering for us. As a girl - who only was allowed to play one night under the lights back in the day - look how that has changed. That is huge, and the girls that paved the way for this change – it was my favorite thing to see them out on the field Saturday night. Most of us never played on turf even in college. Now there is a complex of turf for the next generation of female players.”
--Maggie Moyer, Class of 1996
“Saturday night was amazing - I got to play in my first CB West girls’ soccer alumni game. Graduating in 1996, I was part of the team that won the state championship all my four years of playing! So leading up to this game I was a bit nervous and didn’t want to let any of the current girls down.
"The nerves settled and excitement began when I was walking up to the new turf field and saw the state championship board with the eight state champ titles on it! Then it got even better seeing my old teammates show up every few minutes - so many amazing memories were coming back. We all reminisced about what the field used to be like...the holes, rocks on the field, old shed, old coaches, awful running paths, old teammates, but mostly all the fun we had together.
“Then it got real - ha! Teams were picked. We were able to keep all us oldies but goodies together still leaving room for younger legs too. It was go time and just like back in the day, it was Maggie Moyer and I walking onto the field together. We nervously giggled and let others know we are both coming off ACL reconstruction surgery and to take it easy...advice that was quickly forgotten!
“It felt like old times. The field was stacked and lined with so many quick, talented, fierce, awesome girls who wanted to have fun but also wanted to win. It was such an amazing game and really cool how many girls came out to play and watch. I’m already looking forward to next year! Hopefully some of our luck rubbed off on the girls, and they will get to experience a championship too. All the running, practice, drills, ups and downs – it’s all worth it! It meant so much to play in this Alumni game. Some of my most favorite memories were made at West playing soccer with such amazing girls that I’m so lucky to still call my friends. Best of luck this year CBWGsoccer I’ll be cheering for ya!”
-- Jamie Podbutsky, Class of 1996
“It was great to see and catch up with girls who I have not seen since I was at West. It was also nice meeting new people who shared the same experience of playing for such a successful program. The amount of players and family members who attended made me realize how close-knit the CB West girls’ soccer family is. It was awesome to be surrounded by so many girls who also had the best days of their lives playing on those fields.
“When we won the state championship in 2003, our team quote was ‘It is not the team with the best players, it is the players with the best team,’ which completely held true to that group of girls. We did not necessarily have superstar soccer players on the team, but every girl stepped up for every game and always had each others’ backs. We grinded out every game and did it for each other.
“Our state championship in 2006 was really special for me because it was my senior year and with my best friends. All of the girls on this team were very close and had a blast together both on and off the soccer field. We even played in a state playoff game on the afternoon of prom and had teammates doing our hair/makeup on the bus ride home. Winning that state championship was the perfect ending to my time at West.”
--Jill Camburn, Class of 2006
“It was so awesome tonight to see so many alumni show out to play a competitive yet fun and encouraging game against one another. It’s amazing to have so many passionate women young and old out playing the sport we love and sharing stories about the impressive history of Central Bucks West girls’ soccer.
“The 2014 state championship team will always hold a special place in my heart and I will never forget the way we used our underdog mentality to push through to the final minutes of that game in Hershey.”
--Shea McCarty, Class of 2014
“It was such a great experience. Not just to see my old teammates, but to see past generations reconnect and play together was so much fun. This program has such a long and successful history and it’s an honor to be a part of it and continue to watch it grow.
“My favorite memory from the 2014 season was obviously winning the state championship. We were the underdogs the entire tournament and wound up proving everyone wrong. To stand on top of the fire truck in West’s parking lot, holding up our trophy and singing ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ is something I’ll never forget.”
--Sophie McKnight, Class of 2014
“It’s an honor to be part of a team with such a successful history. It was incredible to meet and watch some of the women who built the program. And every time we take the field, we play for those who came before us.”
--Erin Fitzsimmons, Captain, Class of 2020