From kicking a ball around in the backyard as kids, to putting on the same college soccer uniform together, brothers Jacob and Connor Lunduski portray the beauty and uniqueness of siblings in sports.
Jacob, a senior defender and his younger brother, Connor, a sophomore midfielder, started playing soccer at five years old. But over the years, the two year age difference between them made it hard for the brothers to play together growing up.
“We never actually played together,” Jacob said. “This is the first time at Oswego. We’ve always just been out of each other’s age range.”
Despite not playing in official games, the two practiced together in their backyard and at the park up the street from their house almost every day. This was where Jacob was able not only to play with his younger brother, but teach him some defensive know-how as well.
“He’s always been offensive minded,” Jacob said of Connor. “But there were times when he was slotted back into defense, so I would give him some pointers.”
Connor was not only able to utilize his older brother’s knowledge of the game growing up, but there were also perks that came with having a brother with two years of experience on him. This was especially true in high school when Jacob played on the varsity team and Connor played on junior varsity.
“Whenever I played in a Sunday league, I would bring Connor along to let him play with the varsity kids,” Jacob said. “I think he learned a lot through that, and he really stood out at his age. I think it helped him.”
That experience at the higher levels allowed Connor to get a head start and he would go on to be a stand-out player in high school. In fact, Connor had offers from division two, and even division one schools. Fast forward to today, and the two are playing together at Oswego State, a school with a division three athletic program.
“Why did he choose division three,” you ask? Well, Connor’s older brother may have had something to do with his decision.
“He had a pretty big influence on me,” Connor said of his older brother. “He kept saying great things about the program, and how he loved everyone on the team.”
Although his brother’s pitch for the soccer program at Oswego State played a part in Connor’s decision, it was also the academic side of the school that swayed him.
“I knew he was going into engineering,” Jacob said, as he then referenced the attractiveness of the new Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering & Innovation for an engineering major like Connor.
Connor agreed that the academic opportunities presented to him at Oswego played a big role in his decision to play here, which makes this story that much more amazing. Seldom do you see a top-recruited player out of high school choose a D3 school for academic reasons.
Seems like it was destiny that Connor and Jacob would play together as Oswego Lakers.
When asked about his reaction to finding out his younger brother would be attending Oswego, Jacob said he was excited.
“I was pumped,” he said. “I knew he was going to make an immediate impact when he got here. Our team was lacking goals at the time, and I knew he could bring something to help the team.”
Jacob went on to make the point that not only would Connor make an impact at Oswego from the get-go, but he would most likely not get the opportunities he has at say, a division one school.
But Jacob is not the only person in the Oswego men’s soccer program to be happy to have Connor. Head Coach Bob Friske welcomed Connor like family as well.
“I coached the team around family values, and they emulate that literally and figuratively,” Friske said. “They get along so well, on and off the field.”
Coach Friske went on to rave about the chemistry the two have, mentioning that it is truly a unique situation.
“I’ve coached brothers before. I’ve even coached twins,” he said. “I’ve never seen any two siblings click the way those two do. The complement each other’s skills so well. It’s truly a unique experience for me.”
After one full year of playing together, now in their second, the Lunduski brothers agree that the chemistry between them is a major perk.
“Even though we haven’t played with each other much, we knew right away how to connect with each other when I got here,” Connor said. “And I know coach wants us to play off of that, it definitely plays a big role.”
This season is Jacob’s senior year, so the Lunduski brothers look to continue having a great year playing together, for both the first and last time.