Alumni game to honor former RSHS soccer player
— On Saturday, Rising Sun High School soccer alumni stretching back a decade will return to the soccer field to raise money in memory of one of their own.
The second annual Ryan Hartnett Memorial Soccer Alumni Game will take place at Calvert Regional Park on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. with the women’s game and continuing at 3:30 p.m. with the men’s game.
The event raises money for the Ryan Hartnett Soccer Alumni Scholarship Award, which was started last year in honor of Ryan Hartnett, a 2011 RSHS graduate and soccer standout who died in a motorcycle accident in November 2012. Hartnett was 20 years old at the time and a senior airman in the U.S. Air Force.
The game in honor of Hartnett started last year when RSHS boy’s soccer coach Ken Ulrich and 2006 RSHS soccer alum Mike Sydell approached the Hartnett family with the idea of starting a game and a scholarship fund in Hartnett’s honor.
“My family and I had talked about things to do prior, but we didn’t really know where we wanted to go,” said John Hartnett, Ryan’s brother and the RSHS assistant boy’s soccer coach. “It was one of these things where it was kind of fresh to us and we didn’t really know what to do so having someone else step up and get things started helped.”
Last year, about 40 people participated and about $2,200 was raised. But this year, with the addition of the women’s game, Hartnett said they’re expecting around 80 participants. Last year, alumni paid $10 to enter the game but the registration fee was increased to $20 this year because all participants will now get a shirt.
The game has also received sponsorships from Residential Mortgage Services in Elkton and Crothers Insurance in Rising Sun, as well as some other businesses, so Hartnett hopes to raise $5,000 for the scholarship fund this year. This year’s game will also include a 50/50 raffle and a crossbar challenge game at halftime.
Depending on how much is raised, scholarships will be awarded to either two or four graduating Rising Sun soccer players, both boys and girls, that display the qualities of leadership and sportsmanship on and off the field and plan on attending a two- or four-year school. Hartnett’s parents will anonymously pick the winners.
The people playing in the game will span the 1996 graduating class all the way up to the current senior class, said Sydell, who’s helping organizing the game again this year. Sydell said he’s glad the girls game was started this year and hopes the alumni game becomes an annual tradition and that the scholarship will give people a cause to rally around.
“The idea is that we wanted to create a bigger (soccer) culture in Rising Sun and around Cecil County,” he said. “It’s a really great thing and ideally it’s something that continues in the county.”
Anyone wishing to donate to the scholarship fund can make checks out to Rising Sun High School with “Ryan Hartnett Scholarship” in the memo line or bring cash to the game on Saturday.
An alumni soccer game on Saturday will raise money in honor of Ryan Hartnett, a former RSHS soccer player who died in a motorcycle accident in 2012.