Having great chemistry on the soccer field is nothing new for the Swearengen brothers, who have played together most of their lives.
For the first time this season, though, they got to show it off at the high school level, and it certainly provided a lift to Wilmington’s soccer squad.
After winning just one game in the 2012 season, the Wildcats finished 9-11-1 this year thanks in no small part to the trio of Swearengens — junior Landon and freshmen twins Dawson and Dylan.
“From winning one game to making it to [a Class 1A] regional championship game, it’s been quite a ride,” Landon said. “It comes down to our entire team giving 100 percent effort all season.”
The leadership of Landon, a captain on a very young squad, was invaluable. So too was the burst of energy provided by his younger brothers.
“Dylan is a great attacker and Dawson’s a great defender,” Wilmington coach Julio Lara said. “Them coming in as freshmen, they were the spark we needed this year. They’re playmakers.
“Landon was one of our top scorers and he pushed the team as a leader. He was our MVP this season.”
The three credit one another with much of their success. Connecting on passes with brothers, after all, is a little easier than with other teammates.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Landon said. “It’s easier to pass the ball between us without even looking. We know where each other’s going to be. We’ve gone through a whole team before, just the three of us.”
The brothers are utilized all over the field, with Dawson on the back line, Dylan in the midfield and Landon as a roving player who switches between midfield and forward but is usually in the center of the field.
Landon finished with 14 goals, Dylan had five goals and six assists and Dawson scored once while providing strong defense.
“It’s a lot of fun because we all have our own strengths,” Dylan said. “Dawson is great on defense. Landon wins all the 50-50 balls and he’s always running all over the field. As a group, we’re pretty good together.”
The trio has become quite a force in 3-on-3 soccer tournaments. They’ve competed in a national tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World three straight years, finishing third once and fourth another time.
“We’ve been to different states and have gotten to play all over,” Dawson said. “It’s really fun.”
Having their older brother on the team has been a great help for Dawson and Dylan in dealing with the pressure of being freshmen on the varsity. Dylan said Landon is “always calming me down.”
For his part, though, Landon said the twins don’t need much help.
“They’ve got the same training I do,” he said. “They’re good players. I don’t need to help them out too much.”
For Dawson and Dylan, soccer has been a way for them to spend more time with their older brother.
“Dylan and I have always been on the same teams, but it’s great to get to play with Landon,” Dawson said. “He’s usually out driving around, but when we play soccer, we get to actually talk to him.”