MUNSTER | Stacia Andello didn't know much about soccer until she met her husband Tony.
"He played in college (for Manchester University) and I would watch some of his games," she said. "It took me awhile to learn the rules ... like I didn't know what off-sides meant."
Stacia continued to gain a better grasp while watching son Austin and daughter Addy excel in the sport to a point where they were recruited by premiere clubs. In essence, Stacia and Tony have traveled the world while supporting their children.
In other words, they have compiled enough mileage to encircle the globe several times.
"We can't be at two places at once, so often I go to Addy's game while Tony goes to Austin's," Stacia said.
Austin is a member of the Fort Wayne United West U16 boys team. Addy plays for the Oak Brook Eclipse 13U girls team. Not only is Fort Wayne and Oak Brook in different time zones half of the year, they're nearly 180 miles apart.
"The club is based in Fort Wayne, but our team practices most of the time in Winfield," Austin said. "So it's not that far."
Still, his parents are probably not giddy about the rising price of gasoline.
Austin has been with FW United West for the past four years. With players from Munster, Crown Point, Schererville, Valparaiso, LaPorte and South Bend, and under the tutelage of coach and club director Dave Kurtz, Austin's team has won three Indiana State Cup Championships in the past four years.
With a 1-0 championship final win over Columbus Express for its latest state title, FW United West advances to the US Youth Soccer Region I Championships to be held June 21-22 in Dayton, Ohio.
"Last year we lost in the first round to the Chicago Magic," said Austin, an outside midfielder who has played varsity soccer at Munster High School since his freshman year. "I don't know if we'll face them again, but I'm sure they're going to be down there."
While Austin's team was playing for the Indiana State Cup, Addy's team was battling for the Illinois State Cup, where it lost to Campton 3-1 in the championship game.
This was Addy's first year with the Oak Brook Eclipse team.
"I played for Eclipse in Hobart, but then they asked me to play for Oak Brook," Addy said of her transfer to the club's more elite team.
Austin and Addy both credit their father for helping them become elite team players.
"This is the only sport we play," Austin said. "Even when we're home, we practice (with a pair of goals) in the backyard."
When asked if she ever thought about playing softball or basketball — or even dancing — for another activity, Addy said she has no desire.
"I just feel most comfortable when I'm on a soccer field," she said.