Pilots in the Spotlight: The Baarts Family

By The Beacon | October 24, 2012 9:00pm

(From Left to Right) Assistant men’s soccer coach Rob Baarts with his nephew, senior goalkeeper Justin Baarts and Rob’s son and Justin’s cousin, junior defender Tyler Baarts. (Stephanie Matusiefsky| THE BEACON)

By Katie Dunn, Staff Writer dunn16@up.edu

Assistant men's soccer coach Rob Baarts, junior defender Tyler Baarts and senior goalkeeper Justin Baarts share the field, a love of soccer, and strong family ties. Tyler, Rob's son, and Justin, their cousin/nephew are all part of the men's soccer team and is looking to have a strong year and win it all.

Did you guys plan on going to UP together?
Justin: I don't think we ever really talked about it. Since I was a year older, I did my first year. Then he wanted to come here.
Tyler: We never really talked about it (me and Justin) we both just wanted to come here.

Was there any influence?
Rob: I kind of laid off both of them because I didn't want Tyler to think he had to go to UP. It's a big choice and it's his four years, not mine. It wasn't until I said, "Ty, I really want you to come here," that he decided to come here. At first I don't think he thought I even wanted him to come here. Justin we wanted as a goalkeeper.

How long have you been involved in soccer?
Justin and Tyler (at the same time): Since we could walk.
Tyler: If you can walk you can kick a ball.

Do your families get together often?
Justin: Yeah, a lot. Every time we have a home game, my parents, brother, uncle they'll all come down and stay at Rob's house. We do a Saturday night dinner and hang out during the day, then play Friday and Sunday games.
Rob: Mini family reunion every second weekend.
Tyler: Even on the road trips our family will come up or down wherever we are and just have dinner as a family.

What's your favorite family tradition?
Rob: Boxing Day (all three agree). It's the day after Christmas. It's an all-day event.
Justin: It's a Canadian/English thing. Our family's Danish so my grandpa normally does all Danish food and you kind of try it even if you don't know what it is. He really likes to keep that going.

Are you harder on each other because you're family?
Rob: I would say I am. For Justin his savior is Bill, the goalkeeper coach. (Tyler) gets a little bit more of me then he may want, so it's definitely harder.

What's your favorite game day tradition at home?
Tyler: We get to the locker room two hours before game time and hang out as a team. I like that a lot. We joke around and it's pretty relaxed until we start getting ready. I just like being with the team for that time before.
Justin: We have a pregame meal at 3:45 and then the seniors on the team go back and play Super Smash Bros. for half an hour. They've done it for every game the last three years.
Rob: I get a 20-minute alone time that I just clear my head and thoughts and find a place I can go by myself. I like that moment with none of these guys (chuckles).
Does your whole family like soccer?
Rob: Pretty much. We all played. It's got family lineage from way back.
Justin: If it's not everybody's main sport now they've at least played and been a part of it at some point. We play and enjoy watching it.

Do you see anything different in the team this year?
Justin: Every year the group of freshmen come on and changes the dynamic. These guys really fit in. You see freshmen hanging out with seniors where as on some teams you have your seniors and juniors and freshmen are kind of off on their own, but they intermingle.
Tyler: I'd say we have really good team chemistry all the way around. We're a pretty close group.
Rob: I would definitely agree.
This group has been the most close-knit group we've had in a while. It makes it a lot more fun, plus there's a lot of talent in the group.

Who is the biggest jokester on the

Rob: Who thinks they are or who

Justin: It's gotta be Mitch (sophomore defender Mitchell Lurie). (All agree) He thinks everyone's laughing with him when they're really just against

Tyler: Mitch gets made fun of the most. He's just loud. It's good entertainment.