Bryan Ostrower would have been in the thick of this weekend’s high school soccer tournament at Manchester Meadows. So it’s perfect that Ostrower’s name is attached to the 15-team event, the Bryan Ostrower High School Soccer Showcase, which runs Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon.
Ostrower, a Rock Hill native and 1996 graduate of Northwestern High School, was a promising and respected soccer official at the club, high school and collegiate levels throughout South Carolina. Ostrower began officiating in 2005 and quickly showed promise, receiving an upgrade in 2007. He officiated in three high school state finals and had the center whistle in 2009. In February of 2010, Ostrower fell sick while running at the beach and was soon diagnosed with brain cancer. He underwent two surgeries, but despite aggressive treatment, passed away in March, 2011.
Area referee assigner Rick Rogers first met Ostrower when they were students together at Winthrop.
“Bryan was an amazing person to be around,” said Rogers. “He continued to push me to better myself as an official and we began our advancement together. It was a complete shock when he was diagnosed because he was so young and in such great health that this came so suddenly.”
In passing, Ostrower left behind Alison, his wife, Evan and Collin, his two sons, and Hopelyn, his daughter. Now, he’s also left behind a legacy of soccer.
Rogers will be officiating games this weekend at Manchester Meadows, and he will certainly be thinking about his friend.
“After he was diagnosed, had gone through treatments and was released from the hospital, he was still a continuing figure at the soccer fields,” said Rogers.
A walk in Ostrower’s honor will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, amidst the nonstop soccer action, while Northwestern’s athletics program will donate $500 to Duke University Brain Cancer Hospital, also in Ostrower’s memory. Local teams include Northwestern, the host, Rock Hill, Clover, Indian Land and Andrew Jackson.
Defending Class AAAA boys’ state champs Irmo will be in attendance, as will River Bluff, now coached by longtime Irmo coaching legend Phil Savitz. Clover will play its first games under a new coach too, Graham Stafford, who came over from Northwestern where he assisted Dom Wren.
Adam Cole’s Indian Land squad begins the 2013-14 season looking to do one better than last year, when the Warriors fell in the Class AA state finals to Bishop England. Indian Land will also get a shot at a marquee non-region win when it faces Northwestern at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday.
And the lone out-of-state team in the Ostrower Showcase, Collins Hill (Ga.), has won three state titles in the last six seasons in Class AAAAAA, while losing in the state finals the other three years. It should be a good tournament this weekend at Manchester Meadows, one its namesake would proud to call his own.
Bret McCormick • 803-329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T