Trio of Kimmich brothers join forces at Grove City
Saturday, September 16, 2023 | 11:01 AM
The question swirled around each of them. It made the three brothers tense up momentarily, and then smile an ornery grin.
There was no right answer, only a playful calculation to kick back at: Who is the best soccer player in the Kimmich family?
“I love this question, and I’m sure you’re going to get three different answers,” Matt Kimmich said. “Trash talk is absolutely brutal between us.”
The Kimmich brothers from Franklin Regional — Matt, Luke and Jake — have reunited as teammates this fall on the Grove City soccer team. It is believed to be the first time in program history that there are three brothers on the same roster.
“I would say Jake has the most potential between the three of us,” Matt Kimmich said. “Luke and I get jealous sometimes with his 6-4 frame. At the moment, though, I’d have to give the nod to (their father, Kurt).”
A surprise move by the eldest of the group: diplomatic and safe, but a twist no less.
Luke, in lieu of that line of thinking, handled the question like a penalty kick. He picked a spot and pured it. (Maybe that comes from playing on the Grove City golf team, which makes him a rare, two-sport college athlete.)
“It’s tough to say who the best. … We would do anything for each other, but,” Luke Kimmich said, “I got to go with myself on that one. It’s been an absolute blessing being able to play with them, and I can’t wait to get into the meat of the season.”
Jake Kimmich is a freshman defender, Luke Kimmich a junior midfielder, and Matt Kimmich is a fifth-year defender who wrestled with the decision to come back for one more year.
Full disclosure: He didn’t have to think for long.
Matt and Luke had been college teammates before, but the extra year allowed the three of them to play together.
“This wouldn’t be possible without God,” he said. “It stunk with the covid season my sophomore year, but that opened the door for me to use an extra year of eligibility to play with Jake as well. I also wouldn’t be able to do this without the support and love from my wife, Kaleigh, and the support from coach (Mike) Dreves. We have a very big roster this year, so coach made a special exception allowing me to play.”
Matt Kimmich said he played with a partially torn PCL in his knee during the last month of last season.
“Last season left a very bitter taste in my mouth with how we performed,” he said. “I wanted to go out on my terms. I never would have come back if I didn’t think this team was good enough to win the conference. We have a great mix between veterans and hungry young players to round out our team.”
Luke Kimmich is cherishing every second of this season because he knows how quickly it will move by.
“It’s been an absolute dream come true to play with them,” Luke Kimmich said. “I have been fortunate enough to play two years with each of them in high school, but to get the opportunity for all three of us to play together is something not many people get.”
If there is a common thread between the Kimmich brothers, it is competition. They love a close game or match in any sport because it means they might have a chance to play hero.
“Life between us three is always a competition that my mom sometimes doesn’t get thrilled about,” Matt Kimmich said. “In the offseason, we kill each other because you don’t want to be the brother to come in last place.”
But deep down, they would rather see their siblings make headlines than themselves.
“The best player is a difficult question because we all have different playing styles and are better at certain things,” Jake Kimmich said, taking the high road noncommittally. “Luke has more of that offensive mindset while Matt and I are more defensive.”
Luke also pointed out the siblings’ disparate styles.
“Matt is a true defender,” Luke Kimmich said. “Stays home and locks it down. Would run through a brick wall for the team. Jake is a good mix of an old-fashioned-defender, but he has the attacking mindset and a great eye for the field. I describe myself as an attacker who plays defense. I have been an attacker my entire life but started playing some outside back in high school.”
Matt and Luke are starters for the Wolverines, who were 0-1-1 two games into the season.
The moment the three of them take the field together will be a true highlight.
Matt and Jake are center backs, while Luke is an outside back.
Jake was an all-state player at Franklin Regional.
“Being able to play with both of my brothers has been an awesome experience so far,” Jake Kimmich said. “They have both helped make the transition from high school soccer to college soccer a little easier. I’m definitely not going to take this season for granted.”
A fourth brother, and their biggest fan no matter how good anyone of them is, is the youngest, Ben.
Ben Kimmich, who has Down syndrome, became popular as an unofficially official team manager at Franklin Regional soccer and basketball games.
“I think Benny has been the most excited watching his three older brothers play together,” Luke Kimmich said. “He hasn’t missed a minute yet. He watches every minute of warmups and is there until the last player walks off the field.”
Grove City has a talent-packed team that should win a lot of games with defense. Expectations are high with a mix of upper and underclassmen.
“The goal is to obviously win the conference,” Matt Kimmich said. “I’ve never been hungrier to do so. I’m in the best shape of my five-year career right now and I’m making sure to go out with no regrets.”
Except maybe saying his father is the best in the family.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
Tags: Franklin Regional
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