Siebel Soccer Park in Great Falls, Montana, is home to the Great Falls High Bison and CM Rustlers teams. Unlike many of the sports arenas in the United States, this is no run-of-the-mill sports field. Thanks to where the park’s location, a particular tradition began. You see, Siebel Park sits directly across from Malmstrom Air Force Base.
Coach Willie Pyette moved practice to the Soccer Park after taking over the Rustler program. Coach Pyette noticed the national anthem sounded each day at 4:30 as the United States flag lowers at the Air Force Base. He decided to make it part of regular practice.
Each day when the anthem played, the head referee stopped the clock. Facing east, hands over their hearts, the players stood at attention to show respect for their country’s flag. When the anthem finished, the players resumed practice.
It was this sound, the beloved notes of the national anthem, that brought the players on the field to a standstill. On this particular Tuesday, the Bison girls were hosting a Class AA playoff game instead of the usual practice. When they heard the anthem begin to play, both teams stopped.
Fortunately, a spectator recorded the teams’ patriotic response to the anthem and posted the video on social media. It quickly went viral.
Coach Pyette views the tradition as merely showing respect for service members, and not as a political statement. As long as Seibel Soccer Park holds practice or games in the afternoon, this tradition will continue, he stated.