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Family Circus

After Gordon Wild was born, his parents, Johnny Meyer and Irene Wild, curtailed their travels and opened a circus in Germany. The pair have long supported their son’s love for soccer. After a goal, Gordon kisses tape bearing their initials on his wrists. “That’s one way I pay them back,” he says. Submitted by the Wild family

Gordon Wild

Gordon Wild takes the jokes about clowns in stride. Though his father spent 60 years in the circus and his mother 20, the skills they honed there are no laughing matter. Acrobats, Wild’s parents tried to familiarize their young son with hurtling through the air, but he felt safer on the ground. So he turned to soccer — his native Germany’s national pastime — and his mother’s lessons about stretching and conditioning stuck. Wild finished his first season at Maryland uninjured, won Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, and relished having his parents in the stands for a handful of matches after a lifetime spent watching them perform.

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Champion magazine goes behind the headlines and beyond the scoreboards to celebrate the unique connection between Americans and college sports. Champion is published by the NCAA.

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