2012-08-10 / Sports
Buckley & Moyer: Friendly rivals
Former stars for Simi, Royal soccer will face each other in college
Buckley and Moyer met on the soccer pitch—on opposing teams—when they were 7.
They continued the rivalry for Simi Valley and Royal high schools’ girls’ soccer teams. Buckley suited up for the Pioneers while Moyer played for the Highlanders.
Whenever they crossed paths in the center midfield, Buckley and Moyer played with a little ruthlessness.
“We went hard,” Buckley said about facing Moyer.
“We didn’t try to hurt each other, but people always said it looked like it. We know each other’s weaknesses.”
It’s not surprising to witness Royal and Simi Valley athletes engaged in a heated clash. What’s shocking is seeing the opponents take pictures and hang out after a match.
Off the pitch, Buckley and Moyer, both 18, are best friends. They’ve been inseparable since the age of 9.
They’re the Magic Johnson and Larry Bird of girls’ soccer.
“Watching us on the field, you wouldn’t think we’re friends,” Moyer said. “After every game we would take pictures, and the tradition was to go to the house of whose home game it was.
“Once the game ended we became friends again.”
The rivalry hasn’t stopped just because the girls graduated from high school this year.
Buckley and Moyer moved their friendly competition to the NAIA’s Golden State Athletic Conference, where they’ll be donning the opposite colors of their respective high schools’ teams.
Buckley will sport the green of Concordia University of Irvine Eagles and Moyer the maroon of the Westmont College Warriors.
Moyer and Buckley’s friendship began when they were teammates on the U-10 Simi Valley Youth Soccer Eclipse team.
Buckley’s father, Jim, a former coach for the Red Fireballs team, almost prevented his daughter from meeting Moyer.
After Buckley’s Red Fireballs lost to the Eclipse, an opposing coach asked Jim Buckley if he would consider allowing his daughter to join the Eclipse.
The highly competitive Jim Buckley, a former Marine, refused.
“A coach from Eclipse tried talking to me, but he was scared of my dad,” Shannon Buckley said.
“My dad was not having it after losing. He was super mad. He eventually allowed me to join the team and meet Katie.”
Buckley and Moyer developed their close bond while playing for Eclipse.
Buckley and Moyer’s first match against each other, at age 7 while playing for U-8 Simi Valley Youth Soccer teams, was called off because of rain.
However, Jim Buckley still wanted the match to be played.
“It started raining, but Jim was like, ‘No we’re playing,’” said Steve Moyer, Katie’s father. “My wife (Wanda) was like, ‘I know that crazy guy. That’s Jim. We went to Royal together.’”
The Buckley and Moyer families became close over the years while traveling together to Shannon and Katie’s Eclipse matches.
The families even attended out-of-state matches in motor homes.
After playing on different club teams for five seasons, the players reunited this year with the Camarillo Eagles and coach Steve Sampson, the former head coach of the U.S. men’s national team and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
“They always looked for each other on the field,” Sampson said about Buckley and Moyer. “You can always tell which players have chemistry, and those two certainly did.
“Katie was a captain for (the Eagles) and was a fantastic leader. Shannon was one of the ones that came on strong during the second half of the season.”
The girls are biology pre-med majors—Buckley wants to be a pediatrician while Moyer hopes to become an orthodontist.
On the pitch, they’re All- Marmonte first team standouts.
The two, however, have different personalities.
“They’re very opposite, but opposites attract,” said childhood friend Alison Suave, Buckley’s teammate at SVHS. Suave is a Cal Poly Pomona midfielder.
“They’re a perfect match. Shannon likes to joke around and Katie likes to be serious,” Suave said.
“They balance each other out.”
Despite being close friends, Buckley and Moyer never considered playing on the same college team.
“It’s good to go to a new place where you don’t have your best friends there,” said Moyer, a valedictorian for Royal with a 4.2 grade-point average.
“Makes you branch out more. We never talked about going to the same college.”
Buckley and Moyer, who live on opposite sides of Simi Valley, tried to attend high school together.
However, their parents wanted the girls to enroll at their respective neighborhood schools.
Buckley and Moyer still spent plenty of time together, including family camping trips.
The friends won’t see each other much in college.
That doesn’t mean the Buckley and Moyer families will stop spending time together.
“We don’t need Shannon and Katie to go on trips,” Steve Moyer said.
“We’ll still be using the motor homes a lot.”