Four football players in a locker room
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Band of brothers

05 September 2023
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This year’s University of Regina Rams football squad boasts four players with a most unique connection; they all grew up together and share the same last name.

The four Sombachs on the Rams football team this year are an anomaly: Jackson, Carson, Rylar, and Conner Sombach are brothers. They all played football at Regina’s Miller Comprehensive High School, and they all play in the defensive backfield for the Rams.

"To have four brothers - all gifted football players - on one team at the same time in the same position... it's incredible! It really brings home what we always say about the Rams are all one big family. I don't think there is another example like this in all of football," says Mark McConkey, Rams' Head Coach.

The Sombach brothers

Jackson, the oldest brother is a Kinesiology/Education student who wants to become a physical education teacher. Carson is also a Kinesiology/Education student with plans to become a physical education or math teacher. Twins Rylar and Conner, not yet starters for the Rams, are both in their first year of eligibility. Rylar is a Kinesiology student and Conner is a Business Administration student with a major in marketing.

Conner says playing with his brothers is very cool especially with his older brothers who have helped him improve as a football player and as a student.

Four football players posing for the camera
On the field and all suited up (left to right): Conner (#3), Rylar (#36), Jackson (#24), and Carson (#28) Sombach. Credit: U of R Rams

Carson couldn’t agree more. “It’s awesome,” he says about playing football with his brothers. “I played a lot with Jackson through U-18 and high school. He’s always someone you can turn to for advice for things on and off the field.”

Having four brothers playing the same varsity sport at the same time is unique, echoes Jackson.

“I never played with the twins in high school, but we’ve have always been close. We used to play football in the park, in the snow, and in the basement, but to play on the same team is really special.”

The four brothers remain close and still live together in the home they have grown up in. During their collegiate careers, the four have been on the field at the same time only once. That happened last season in a pre-season match-up that the Rams played in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

A combination of discipline and hard work

All the brothers emphasize that being a student-athlete takes a combination of discipline and hard work. As their football commitment takes upwards of five hours a day, it’s often difficult to fit academics and football into their days, but as each of them says, school comes first.

“It’s hard to manage your time,” says Rylar. “Wth all your classes, homework, and football, it takes a lot of time. I find that I have classes with a lot of my teammates so we can work on assignments together. That’s helps a lot.”

Conner and Rylar are hoping that they will at least to be able to earn their way onto the bus at some point this year. The truth of the matter is that there are 100 players and only 50 dress for home games and 45 dress for road games.

To have four brothers - all gifted football players - on one team at the same time in the same position... it's incredible! It really brings home what we always say about the Rams are all one big family. I don't think there is another example like this in all of football — Mark McConkey, Head Coach of the U of R Rams

“It’s pretty rare for a young guy to come in and play right away,” says Jackson.

All the brothers agree that, despite its smaller population, Saskatchewan’s high-quality youth football makes it possible for teams in the province to compete on par with teams from other more populated provinces.

“I think it’s the calibre and variety of youth programs that make Saskatchewan players so good,” says Jackson. There is so much more football than just high school football. Also, the Riders have the best fan base in Canada and that love for football trickles down to the youth.”

Optimistic about success

As for how the Rams will fare this season, all of the Sombach brothers remain optimistic about the success of the team.

“I think we are going to do very well this year,” says Carson.” I think we are going to compete for the Hardy Trophy.”

Since 1922, the Hardy Trophy has been presented annually to the winner of the Canada West Universities Athletic Association Football Conference of U Sports, the country's governing body for university athletics.

The Rams will also be competing for the U-Prairie Challenge title.

U of R students can cheer on the Rams for free! Check out the Rams schedule and ticket information.

It was about a year ago that the inaugural U-Prairie Challenge presented by SaskMilk kicked off. The multi-sport competition sees the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan compete head-to-head in 11 different men and women’s varsity sports, including soccer, hockey, volleyball, basketball, track and field, cross country, and, of course, football.

The battle on the gridiron was one of the closest of any of the athletic competitions last season. Although U of S won both football games, the combined winning margin in the two games was a mere four points. While the 2022 title went to our northern rival, U of R student-athletes will go all out to bring the 2023 U-Prairie Challenge title to Regina.

Now it’s time for redemption

Kicking off the 2023 U-Prairie Challenge on September 8, the U of R Rams will be paying a visit to Griffiths Stadium in Nutrien Park in Saskatoon to take on the U of S Huskies in the first of two games that pit provincial combatants against one another.

Alumni from both universities will be cheering on their respective teams – after taking in a tailgate party hosted by U of R and U of S. The U of R Students’ Union has arranged a busload of students to be on hand at the stadium to cheer on the Rams.

Go, Rams!!

Banner photo credit: U of R Rams

About the University of Regina

Set in the heart of the Canadian prairies we are a comprehensive, mid-sized university where the opportunities are as limitless as the horizon. Our campuses are on Treaty 4 and 6 - the territories of the nêhiyawak, Anihšināpēk, Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda peoples, and the homeland of the Michif/Métis nation. It is our responsibility to strengthen relationships with Indigenous communities to build a more inclusive future for all. Our three federated colleges, 10 faculties, 25 academic departments, and 18 research centres foster innovative research with practical and theoretical applications. We are committed to cultivating the potential of our 16,000 students and supporting their health and well-being. We take learning beyond the classroom through work and volunteer experiences to develop career-ready graduates.

Let’s go far, together.

U-Prairie Challenge

Plan now to cheer on U of R in the 2023 U-Prairie Challenge. Students get in for free!

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