It should come as no surprise that there is a small amount of sibling rivalry among the Carroll brothers.
Brian, Jeff and Pat Carroll each played soccer for West Springfield High School, they are separated by just four years and they are acutely aware of each other's achievements and accolades.
The eldest brother, Brian, was the 2000 All-Met player of the year. Although he never won a state title for the Spartans, he went on to a successful college career at Wake Forest and is now a starting midfielder for D.C. United.
Then there is Jeff, a two-time All-Met who is now a starting defender and rising junior at St. John's University, one of the nation's premier college soccer programs and an NCAA finalist last season.
But as far as achievements in high school soccer go, no other Virginia AAA player in the 22-year history of the state tournament can match All-Met defender Pat Carroll. That's because with a 1-0 victory over Langley on June 12 at Christopher Newport University, Pat Carroll became the first AAA boys' soccer player to start in three state championship victories at the same school.
Pat Carroll's history in the state championships began four years ago, when West Springfield's coach, Randy May, decided to start him for the first time as a freshman midfielder along with then-junior and central midfielder Jeff Carroll in the Spartans' 1-0 title victory against Chantilly.
The next year Pat and Jeff helped the Spartans claim another state title by defeating Osbourn Park, 1-0.
"I remember Pat in his freshman year as a spry young lad who possessed this rare athleticism and quickness," said May, who is leaving West Springfield to teach physical education at Stone Bridge High School. "We had to find a way to work him into a role on the field. . . . He had played a lot earlier in the season, but we made the decision to start him in the state final game."
This season West Virginia-bound Pat Carroll led an unmatched Spartans defense that posted its 14th shutout in the state championship.
The Carroll sibling rivalry, however, will become even more heated this fall when Jeff and Pat's schools face each other in both teams' Big East regular season opener on Sept. 3 in Jamaica, N.Y.
"I'm excited for the game because he's been talking a little trash," Jeff Carroll said. "I know he is looking forward to it, too."
In preparation for their college season, the brothers will also be running on the track at West Springfield and training at South Run recreation center in Springfield.
"There is a rivalry between the two, but they are always supportive of each other," May said. "What's interesting is that Brian set the standard for the family because he was the groundbreaker."
If there is a difference between Pat and Jeff Carroll on the playing field, it's that Pat is more explosive and quick while Jeff is more technically skilled and high endurance. But both know the pressure of following Brian, who is described by Jeff as having a combination of both his younger brother's abilities.
"I think there is a pressure that comes with following after Brian because he has accomplished so much," Pat Carroll said. "People are looking at you to follow in his footsteps."