During Sunday’s home finale against Dallas, the B-52s spotlighted the past, present and future of Wichita soccer.
The past was celebrated with the honoring of legendary defender Kim Roentved, probably the most singularly identifiable member of the Wichita Wings and a member of the Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame.
Wichita’s present was exemplified by the B-52s, which nearly knocked off the PASL Central Division-leading Sidekicks before falling in sudden-death overtime, 5-4.
The team, which honored Roentved at halftime, also gave a salute to the youth soccer players who constitute Wichita’s future in the game.
Sunday’s game was the closest of four losses to Dallas, which routed Wichita 15-3 in the B-52s’ PASL debut.
Roentved came to Wichita in 1980 at age 19 and spent 15 years with the Wings, a span of more than 500 games. He is the highest-scoring defender in MISL history.
Roentved was introduced at halftime Sunday by his former Wings coach, Roy Turner, who originally brought Roentved to Wichita.
“For those of you who don’t know who Kim Roentved is, you might want to go home tonight and look in the dictionary under ‘sixth attacker,’ and you’ll see a picture of Kim Roentved,” Turner said.
Roentved chose to share the spotlight, being sure to mention all the coaches, players, support staff and others who had helped him during his career. He said he was equally proud of Wichita youth soccer’s growth in the 1980s and noting that the Wings had a role in it.
“Those 15 years (in Wichita) … best time of my life,” Roentved told the crowd. “Best time of my life.”
The fans also played a big role, Roentved said. No matter the team, fan support is important, he said.
“Every sports franchise needs fans, and you are absolutely the best,” Roentved said. “And I thank you for all the memories.”
Afterward, Roentved said this was a day to salute local soccer history.
“You’re talking about a lot of history here – 34 years,” he said. “And I hope the B-52s keep it around for another 34-35 years.”
The B-52s’ play impressed Roentved.
“It was quality soccer, and I loved every minute of it,” he said. “I’m just glad I’m sitting in the stands and not down on the field.”
His time in Wichita was special, Roentved said.
“So many memories here … I wouldn’t know where to start,” he said. “I played with some fantastic players, and we built something that was very valuable, not only for the players out there … but I might add for the community of Wichita.
“It was an explosion, and I’m so happy to have been a part of it.”
In the game, Nestor Hernandez’s fourth goal proved to be the game-winner at 10:27 into the overtime period. Blake Ordell, Maikel Chang, Brady Bryant and Travis Pittman scored for Wichita.