The name Tornusciolo (Tour-nish-you-low) can be seen on both rosters of the Lansing varsity soccer teams. Julian is a senior leader and midfielder for the two-time state champions boys team, and his younger sister Kiara is a starting sophomore defender for the revamped girls team.
Now in his final year of Lansing soccer, Julian looked back on the path that he unintentionally carved for Kiara, as she followed his footsteps almost exactly.
“I got into soccer in elementary school, starting with the Lansing rec program. It really started to take off for me when I turned around 10 years old and joined the offseason team,” Julian said. “Then, there was the local club, the Ravens, that was really good at providing opportunities for people who were young and interested in soccer.”
Seeing Julian succeed at those different levels sparked the competitive spirit in Kiara and gave her goals to work towards.
“I did exactly what he did. I pretty much wanted to catch up to him,” Kiara said. “I wanted to be just as good as him. I was chasing him the whole time. It’s good to have someone to look up to.”
That motivation has driven Kiara to a key role in the Lansing Bobcats lineup, anchoring the defense with a starting job. Julian has attended several girls soccer games this season and has enjoyed seeing his sister excel.
“It’s good to see how much she’s grown,” Julian said. “Obviously, I’m very proud that she’s followed in my footsteps to some degree. But she’s come into her own playing a completely different position, and I think her style of play is very different. So, it’s fun to watch.”
As much as they have followed the same path, they did diverge in choice of position, as Julian mentioned. Julian was always drawn to facilitating the offense from the midfield position. Kiara, on the other hand, enjoys the physical part of soccer, which she’s able to utilize in the defensive zone.
An important facilitator in the careers of the Tornusciolos was the attitude and support of their parents. Neither Julian nor Kiara felt pressure to succeed and were able to enjoy the sport at its fullest.
“I think it was important that they didn’t stress that if we didn’t want to do any sports, that we had to,” Julian said. “It was more like, at a young age, they thought it would be good for the social aspect and keeping us healthy. They were always very supportive, bringing us to practices and games, always coming to watch.”
Kiara feels the same way. Playing soccer has always been her choice and not simply what she should do because of Julian’s interest.
“They definitely told me that I didn’t have to do soccer just because Julian was,” Kiara said. “And they put us in many sports when we were younger, not just soccer. So, they introduced us to a whole range of them and let us pick what we wanted to do. If we wanted to stop, we knew they wouldn’t be angry. They didn’t put pressure on us to keep going.”
On top of simply enjoying the sport, they get to play it for a very successful program. Julian has been fortunate enough to achieve the rare feat of winning the state title twice.
“It’s been great. That’s not something many people get to experience,” Julian said. “It’s fun to be a part of a program that’s this successful and to come up to the program knowing we can do something special.”
Kiara is on a rising girls team. The Bobcats had a sub-.500 record last year but look brand new in 2019 with a 9-4-2 record, giving her the experience of both the highs and lows of sports in just her second year.
“It’s been awesome because last year was pretty bad. We had a poor record,” Kiara said. “And now, to have a bunch of new people come and bring our team up, even though we’re still really young and mostly freshmen and sophomores, being able to go to sectionals this year is awesome.”
Unfortunately for Julian, this will be his final year of soccer. The social aspect is something he’ll truly miss, but he’s looking back on his years in the sport with a smile. As for college, his plans aren’t set in stone, but one school that he’s looking at in particular is Cornell. If that comes to fruition, he’ll be able to continue to regularly watch his sister in a Bobcats uniform.
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