Nathaniel Bloom and his twin sister, Miriam, have supported each other’s soccer endeavors unconditionally, practically since they were toddlers kicking a ball around in the backyard.
Later this year, that loyalty will come with strings attached.
The Bloom twins, both senior standouts on San Dieguito Academy’s boys and girls soccer teams, will play for rival NCAA Conference Commissioners Association programs on scholarships starting next year. Nathaniel Bloom is headed to UC San Diego, and Miriam Bloom to Sonoma State. Both are Division II programs.
Neither sibling knows for sure how they’ll handle their conflicting loyalties when the two programs play each other over the next four years.
“I don’t know,” Miriam Bloom said.
“It’s going to be weird,” Nathaniel Bloom acknowledged.
But the Bloom twins have nobody to blame but themselves for this dilemma.
Both acknowledge they’ve contributed to each other’s development which, after all, is what got them in this position in the first place.
Miriam, a three-time first-team All-Avocado League selection, cites playing with her brother and his friends with helping develop her trademark aggressive style.
“When we were younger, I used to play with the boys a lot of the time, and I was able to develop my skills that way,” she said. “I become a more aggressive player because I always had him to play with.”
Nathaniel said his sister has helped him too, being readily available to practice with him.
More important, he and Miriam have provided each other with a sounding board that’s helped improve their soccer aptitude.
“We do talk about our games with each other: what we could have done better or what happened during the game,” he said.
The Bloom twins share an admiration for each other’s game. Miriam, said Nathaniel, “has a lot better shot than most girls do and good vision on the field.”
Said Miriam of her brother: “His touch and vision on the field make him a special player.”
The twins are also both standouts in the classroom whose school-first attitudes exemplify the school’s emphasis on academics, said SDA Athletic Director Justin Conn.
“But when the school day ends, they work incredibly hard out there on the field,” said Conn, noting he’s been especially impressed with the way both players handle themselves in practices. “Both have put forth so much effort and so much leadership. They’re a big reason why we’re doing as well as we’ve been doing as of late.”
Both teams are on the upswing.
The boys’ team, which last season reached the San Diego Section Division I finals for the first time in program history, expects to contend for an Avocado League East title. The Mustangs are 7-3, and are coming off an impressive 3-0 nonleague victory over La Costa Canyon on Jan. 11. The Mustangs last month served notice reaching the finals of the prestigious Grossmont tournament (they lost to Torrey Pines 1-0 in the Dec. 22 championship game).
The girls’ team, which is off to a 4-4-1 start, is expected to be a factor in the Avocado League East, too.
Both twins play center midfield, and both lead their respective teams in scoring.
Just as significant, both have emerged as leaders on their respective teams whose work ethic has rubbed off on teammates, Conn said.
“They’re both seniors and they’re looked up to, especially by the underclassmen,” Conn said. “They’re seeing what it takes to move on to the next level. They’re not the only ones; we have a lot of really strong senior leaders on both teams. But the fact that both are leading goal scorers, it’s definitely contagious.
“They work incredibly hard out there.”