Boland legacy a winning tradition at Seton-La Salle
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At Seton-La Salle, the Boland name is synonymous with soccer success.
Since the 1999 season, there has been a Boland on the field, helping build the boys' soccer program from an annual pushover to one of the WPIAL elites.
“They've played a pretty integral part on pretty successful teams,” Ryan Kelly, the Rebels' first-year head coach, said.
“You look over the course (since oldest brother Jim started playing), there's been a Boland on each (successful) team.”
Oldest sibling Jim started the Boland legacy by helping claim the program's first section and WPIAL title in 2002.
Kelly was Jim's teammate on that championship squad, and has had first-hand experience with the soccer-obsessed family.
“I've gotten about 18 years of exposure with the Bolands,” said Kelly, a 2002 Seton-La Salle graduate. “Within the family they have a pretty good competitive streak in terms of the younger ones need to out do the older ones.”
In all, they're are eight Boland soccer players; seven brothers and one sister. Currently, sixth-oldest Dan is a senior for the Rebels, and he knows he has a lot to live up to.
“What I accomplished as a freshman or sophomore, that doesn't matter,” Dan said. “One of the big things at Seton is (you're remembered) for what you do as a senior.”
After Jim graduated in 2003, sister Kelly helped build the Lady Rebels in to a perennial WPIAL playoff participant.
Third-oldest Terry followed, leading Seton-La Salle to WPIAL and state championships in 2006 — the school's first state crown — with his younger brothers Pat and Gary.
“Getting to share that with my younger brothers, and actually playing on the same field as them in the closing minutes, that was something special,” Terry said.
“Hoisting that trophy afterward, that was something so surreal. Doing it in front of my whole family, that was the icing on the cake.”
Collectively, the Boland brothers have been a part of eight section championships, five WPIAL titles and two state crowns, creating a tradition of winning at a school that had no successful soccer history before them.
“For me, it's a good feeling,” Jim said of the family legacy. “You fast forward 10 years and (Seton-La Salle) is considered the favorite to win year-in, year-out no matter who's at the school.”
Soccer was more than just a pastime activity growing up for the Bolands. Each played for several teams around the area, but none more competitive than their own. Three-on-three and kickball games were fierce.
“It's the most competitive house you'll find,” Jim said. “Any time the family's together, with all those boys there's a lot of testosterone.”
Dan added: “Growing up, life was all soccer all the time. (The games) were crazy. We try to make it as even as possible.”
Never ones for rah-rah, cliche pick-me-up speeches, the brothers naturally developed a clean case of sibling rivalry.
“Everyone wants to outdo their sibling,” said Terry, who remembers Jim's WPIAL title game.
After Terry brought back a state championship ring, there was no disputing who had the bragging rights ... for now.
“(Terry) went on to win WPIAL and state titles, so he's now the king of the Seton-La Salle hill,” Jim admitted from his Orlando, Fla. home.
There are still three Bolands who haven't graduated — Dan, Ian (freshman) and Nate (eighth grade) — who can claim Terry's spot.
“My legacy is yet to come in this coming season,” Dan said.
As for life after soccer, the Boland's have another family obsession. Parents Kevin and Fay started Donnelly-Boland & Associates in 1992, and each Boland following has worked in accounting.
“That's the other part of the family business; accounting,” said Terry, who graduated with a degree in accounting following his playing days at Pitt.
Dan plans to continue the trend after this year, but first he has some other family matters to tend to.
“I want to be in the state championship. That's something I and my team want to achieve,” he said, before adding, “I need to carry on the Boland name in the soccer program.''
Justin Criado is a freelance writer.
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