Twins Anna and Elizabeth Broussard suited up as usual for a girls’ soccer game between Catholic High School and Highland Baptist on Dec. 30.
Nothing especially noteworthy there, except the 17-year-old juniors were wearing different uniforms. Anna Broussard has played for the CHS Lady Panthers since seventh grade, while Elizabeth Broussard is a second-year player at Highland Baptist. It was the first time the two have played on opposing teams in high school.
Though the two are supportive of each other normally, there were was still some competitiveness when their teams played each other.
“Definitely I think I would take it more seriously,” Anna said. “I guess I’m a little more competitive just since I play year round. But it was fun. We went up against each other a little bit in the first half of that game.”
“I would say she takes it a little more seriously,” Elizabeth said. “I was kind of just having fun with the whole thing, because I knew a lot of them (on the CHS team). It was fun to play with her, because we really don’t do that a whole lot, so during the game it was different and it was fun.”
As can be expected, mom Chris and dad Kevin Broussard had to try to stay strictly neutral at the game, instead of cheering as they usually do.
“She definitely goes back and forth,” Anna said of their mom. “She was like, ‘Don’t hurt each other, and just have fun out there.’ They just want to support us in everything that we do, so they’re awesome about that.”
Since Catholic High is a more established program with more experienced players, their dad said, it was expected they would win, which the Lady Panthers ended up doing.
“We had to be careful not to cheer for one team or the other,” he said. “It was one of those games where I sat quietly and just watched the game and wasn’t really a fan of either team that night. Or I was a fan of both teams.
“For the most part of the night they were on opposite ends of the field so I didn’t have to worry about them having to go up directly against each other. I was fine with the outcome of either team winning the game.”
With the girls on different teams, scheduling for the parents can be complicated when their games are on the same night. If one team is in town and the other on the road, for instance, one parent typically goes to one game and the other to the second game. If both teams are in town, that might mean watching the first half of one game, then driving at halftime to watch the second half of the other game. If start times are different, that helps with the timing of going from one game to the other. There haven’t been too many issues with the parents being able to attend games.
“It hasn’t been too bad,” Kevin Broussard said. “We’ve just been lucky with that.”
Broussard said he coached his girls in the recreation leagues when they were younger
“I coached them in rec starting at I think age 4 until they were 10,” he said. “Then Ellie didn’t play again until Highland started its program.”
Anna moved into club soccer and plays probably 10 months out of the year, and has developed friendships with players from around Acadiana as a result, her dad said, and the club program has helped her maintain and improve her game and skill levels.
Now, the two high school programs are good fits for the twins’ personalities and competitive natures, he said. As a new program, there isn’t as much pressure at Highland Baptist, which fits Elizabeth’s approach to the game. Catholic High, on the other hand, is an established program and recognized soccer power, a good match for Anna.
“It’s actually perfect for them in that Anna’s playing for Catholic High with that program and it’s perfect for Ellie at her program at Highland Baptist,” Kevin Broussard said.
“We started playing out together when we were young, probably when we were 4 we both started out,” Anna said.
“I took like a year break when we were little, and then came back just because our dad was our coach and we all thought it was fun to play all together,” Elizabeth said. “When the younger kids kind of stopped, I stopped, and she started going to more travel soccer and competitive.”
“I still play club soccer and Ellie just plays high school, but I play both, so it’s pretty much year round,” Anna said.
It was through her club soccer team that Anna decided to switch from Highland Baptist to Catholic High. Several of the girls on her club team played at CHS, and Highland wasn’t offering soccer at the time, so she decided to move to Catholic High in seventh grade. The fraternal twins had been at Highland since attending the Creative Learning Center there before starting Pre-K.
“At the time, she knew she wanted to play soccer, and we knew Catholic High had a soccer program, and at the time Highland didn’t offer a soccer program, so at the time that made the decision for Anna pretty easy, because Highland just had no soccer program,” Kevin Broussard said.
Elizabeth, meanwhile, wasn’t playing soccer at the time and had a lot of friends at HBCS so had no reason to leave, she said. She played other sports in high school and took up soccer again when the school introduced the sport in 2019.
For a time this year it wasn’t certain the two would meet on the pitch, or even if there would be a soccer season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There was talk a while ago they weren’t going to have a season, and even during our season there was talk that the season would get canceled, so just for us to play against each other was really good because we weren’t sure if we weren’t even going to have a season at all,” Anna said.
High school athletics were shut down within a month of last season’s ending, and there were concerns whether there would be a season this year, Kevin Broussard said.
“This year, every time the governor would move into a new phase or drop back into another phase, there was some anxiety whether there would be a season or not,” hesaid. “So far it’s still progressing. If they can hang on for one more month we’ll get through the season.
“We’re just hoping we can get through another month of the season and just hoping there’s not some sort of phase back by the governor that would stop the season. I was concerned that once football season would end, they would shut everything down, but so far they’ve kept it open and it’s really working well for the soccer teams.”
Both have played several positions this season. Anna’s played left wing, a little more in the midfield and some forward, rotating up top. Ellie started as a defender, moved to midfield a few games, and now is at forward.
“It’s kind of just all over the place, wherever they put you,” Elizabeth said.
Both are enjoying playing now.
“I really like just going out there and having fun,” Anna said. “I think competing is probably my favorite thing, just going out there and winning games and playing with our team. I think that’s just the most fun for me.”
Elizabeth said it’s the teammates who make it fun for her.
“I would probably say the people that I play with, like my team, because I feel if you don’t have a good team and you don’t click with them, then it’s not going to be any fun playing,” she said. “So I think it’s just a lot of fun playing with the people on my team.”
She added she hopes the two can continue playing next year with no COVID interruptions.
Time seems to be speeding up for their parents, with the girls’ high school careers moving along. Kevin Broussard said he knows the next year will go even faster as the two go through their senior year.
“It’s really nice to enjoy watching both of them play,” he said.
After their senior season both plan to attend college. Elizabeth hasn’t decided what she’ll study but has developed some interest in dentistry or orthodontics and is looking into that as a possible course of study.
Anna hasn’t decided if she wants to try to play college soccer, and is undecided on a major but said she has some interest in studying physical therapy.
“Ellie has no desire to play at the college level,” Kevin Broussard said. “She focuses on her academics. Anna, that’s a decision I’m going to leave to her if she wants to pursue that in college. That’s just something she’ll have to make up her mind over the next year if she wants to do that. I think she has the skill level to play at the college level, but that’s a lot of commitment and just something you have to commit yourself to, to play in college. It’s almost like a job, trying to play soccer in college.”