Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports

October 14, 2012

Last in a long line

Family dominates state scoring lists, record books

BURT LAKE — The next time Burt Lake Northern Michigan Christian Academy drops a game, it will not only be the end of the season, but the end of an era.

With post-season play about to start, the extraordinary run of Chatfields donning an NMCA jersey is nearing an end.

Senior Aaron Chatfield — who set the state record for career goals this season — is the last in a long line of siblings to star for the Eagles.

At least one of Rusty Chatfield's kids has been on varsity every year since 1996. That's when Spencer Chatfield made his Eagles debut — as a seventh-grader.

He was followed by Nathan, Lee, Paul and Aaron.

The five siblings have scored a total of 656 goals, and the family name dots the Michigan High School Athletic Association boys soccer record books.

The three "major" career statistical categories all belong to Chatfields. Aaron holds the goals and points records, Nathan the assists mark.

"Next year is going to be a turning of the page for NMCA," said 24-year-old Lee, the third of the five boys who is in his third year as NMCA coach. "It'll be the first time since 1996 a Chatfield won't be announced in the lineup. I've felt this way with Paul and Aaron the last few years — and a little bit with Nate and I — that every game we go to, we may not have the thickest lineup, but I'm always confident we have the best player on the field. Next year, we're going to have some young guys step it up. It'll definitely be a new chapter for NMCA. It will be for my dad, too. Every year he goes to every soccer game. I think starting next year, he may take a few off."

The pastor at Northern Michigan Baptist Church, Rusty Chatfield has coached at NMCA since 1981, often in multiple sports. He's currently the girls soccer coach.

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