Brothers and Loyola men’s soccer players Grant and Ethan Stoneman have never had the opportunity to play on the same team — until this year.
The Stoneman brothers are five grade levels apart, so when Ethan was going through the recruiting process, they knew they had a chance to play with each other. Grant redshirted because he didn’t play a game his sophomore year at University of Wisconsin-Madison, giving them the unique opportunity to play together if Ethan decided to come to Loyola. Grant said he might have had some sway in the decision.
“Technically, I’m not allowed to recruit because of NCAA [rules], but since he’s my brother, I’m pretty sure there’s some rule that I’m allowed to,” Grant, 22, said. “I just told him about everything that was here. I had him come down for a few visits and at the end of the day, he really liked it, so it was a great fit.”
Ethan, 18, said he was deciding between Northwestern University and Loyola, but ultimately decided on becoming a Rambler because of the computer science program and he “really loved Loyola.”
“I love the location,” Ethan said. “I love the team part of it, maybe not [classes] so much, but I love coming to practice everyday. Grinding with my team and with my brother and it’s just been a really nice experience this year.”
While any collegiate team is competitive, head coach Neil Jones said having siblings on the team brings sibling rivalry into an already present competition.
“Grant likes to show Ethan he’s the number one out of the two and Ethan likes to show Grant that he’s as good as Grant, if not better,” Jones said. “So, there’s a little bit of sibling competitive rivalry that bleeds into training sometimes, especially when they match up against each other in practice.”
Grant said it’s been great to have his brother on campus with him. He said he often picks on Ethan on the field and puts more pressure on him compared to the other first-years.
“I’m definitely harder on him than everyone else,” Grant said. “But he has to take it as I’m just trying to help him improve as a player because I’ve been around the block a little bit.”
Ethan said he’s taken his brother’s advice in stride and he’s been grateful to have his brother on the team to help him get acclimated to the college experience.
“He teaches me a lot about work ethic and stuff like that,” Ethan said. “It’s really helpful because he gives tips … he knows a lot about the college game. He pushes me a lot and I push him back sometimes.”
Grant said he thinks Ethan is better coming in as a first-year than he was. Even though he might be better, Grant said he still has a lot to work on and he set some goals for Ethan.
“I want him to integrate well and find what he’s good at in college,” Grant said. “I want him to find a good spot where he can do well in school. I definitely want him to hopefully get on the [Missouri Valley Conference] All-Freshman Team, that would be good for him.”
Ethan said having a brother on the team opens the door for the other teammates to poke fun at their mannerisms. He said the two are similar in many ways and the team teases them about their interactions.
“I know one thing is that we take a lot of things seriously,” Ethan said. “Someone will say it’s a joke, like they know its a joke but then me and Grant will be serious about it and act like we don’t care.”
Ultimately, Grant said it’s just nice to have a piece of home on campus. He said sometimes college is hard, so they’re lucky to have each other.
“It’s definitely unique it doesn’t happen a lot,” Grant said. “It’s hard at times because you’re trying to help him out as best as possible so at the end of the day it’s nice waking up everyday and seeing your brother on campus.”
The Stoneman brothers and the rest of the soccer team are scheduled to play Oct. 6 against Valparaiso University.