Lyons, 70, first picked up a soccer ball in 1960. His father had just moved the family from Havertown, Pa. To Paris, France, to pursue a business opportunity. There, the 10-year-old boy discovered the sport thanks to his European friends and classmates.
“When I came back here to the United States in 1963, football was not yet very popular,” he said. “So I had to wait for them to create a varsity team in 1967 and 68.”
The new Cardinal O’Hara High School started with club sports and made its way onto the college scene. Lyons earned his letter jacket as one of the first football athletes in school history.
After graduation, Lyon continued to play in the leagues. Over the years he recalled and started participating in pickup games every Sunday. And he still looked forward to Cardinal O’Hara’s annual Alumni Reunion game.
“As I see it, the average age is around 24 or 25, so I have a few years on these guys,” he joked. “They joke with the guys in their forties and call them grandpa, so I don’t know what they call me behind my back. Crazy, maybe!”
But according to former participants, nothing is crazy to come back to see their very united community.
“It shows how much O’Hara is like family and they always want to come back and play here,” said Martin Meenan, who graduated in 2019 as the soccer team captain.
Cardinal O’Hara’s staff are delighted to see his classmates reunite, but also hope that more young athletes will join the ranks of their various athletic programs.
“We actually have this brand new, refurbished turf which is a big draw in my opinion,” said Boys Varsity Soccer head coach Chris Rodzewich. “So these guys here today have a really, you know, a good opportunity to come back with some old friends to play on this.”
As one of those old friends, Michael Lyons says this year’s game was bittersweet.
“Starting to feel a bit of my age in my joints, I thought it would be appropriate for me to play my last game at O’Hara,” he said. “And so after today I’m going to hang up my crampons.”
Lyons credits Cardinal O’Hara with the place where his dreams began. In addition to a life filled with football, he also has a professional acting career, which began on stage at Delaware County High School. Lyon too published a book of her accomplishments and looks forward to continuing to pass life lessons on to her seven grandchildren.
“If you are passionate about something and love it, just keep going until you can’t do it anymore,” said Michael Lyons.
To learn more about athletics at Cardinal O’Hara High School, visit their website.
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