More than a game: friends and rivals find healing on the field

Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 1:39 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - When it comes to sports, we tend to focus on wins and losses.

But one Bismarck family has realized this soccer season is about much more than scoring the most goals.

The Weis family has learned it’s about friendships and about supporting each other through life’s toughest moments, and they say that has made this season one they’ll always remember.

Liam Weis is happiest here.

“I love soccer,” he said.

The Bismarck High School senior has been playing soccer for 12 years. His dad, John, was his number one fan.

“Every game I play, I always hear him up in the stands,” recalled Liam. “He’d always chant my number.”

But this season, games sound a little different for Liam. His dad passed away unexpectedly in July.

Liam has thousands of memories of his dad.

“The memories are happy,” he said while looking at pictures of his dad.

Many of those memories include Liam’s long-time friends, Kobey and Kevin Jia.

“He was always cheering us on and had a joke to say to give us a reason to play the next game,” said Kevin.

“I was really close with him, and he was almost like a second dad to me,” added Kobey.

Kobey and Kevin play for cross-town rival, Century High School.

“There’s some trash talk, but it’s fun,” laughed Kobey. “It’s a good relationship.”

That relationship has helped Liam get through the past few months without his dad.

“It’s just been awesome to have friends like that,” Liam said.

“It doesn’t make the bad days to go away. But it helps us get through,” added Liam’s mom, Kim Weis. “These friends of Liam’s, since the day he met them. Who would have thought?”

Friends on and off the field, leaning on each other during one of the biggest losses of their lives.

“It’s just overwhelming and beautiful,” said Kim.

Liam’s Demons played Kobey and Kevin’s Patriots on Saturday; the game ended in a zero-to-zero tie.

But there was a winner.

The boosters from both schools organized a food drive and took free-will donations in John’s memory. The family plans to donate it all to the food pantry at Corpus Christi church, to bless others. They say that’s what John would have wanted.

The Demons and the Patriots play again Tuesday.