On Sept. 4, Brooke Wersland put on her maroon No. 29 jersey and lined up on the field next to her Viewmont High soccer teammates.
It was just like always and just like normal in a week that was anything but.
Two days earlier, Wersland’s dad, Mikal Wersland, drowned at Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Wersland, 47, worked as a police officer for 23 years with stops at The Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake and the South Salt Lake Police Department.
Mikal Wersland graduated from VHS and was well-known in the Viewmont High community. So everyone at the soccer game was waiting for Brooke.
Players from both Bountiful and Viewmont gave her flowers and they all embraced at midfield before the game.
“To see 22 girls out on the field embracing her and doing what they can to console her (was) fabulous,” said Todd Gardner, whose daughter, Meghan, plays for Bountiful.
Several players on both teams have played on the same club soccer team, the Utah Surf. Many Bountiful players and fans wore their Surf jerseys in a show of support and others brought signs.
“I’m sure there are people there who didn’t know who she was and they were there to show that they loved her and not only her, but the whole family,” Viewmont soccer head coach Spencer Keddington said. “And it was really nice of Bountiful, they called and wanted to do something.”
One of the coaches, Kyle Hoffman, had some Bountiful players go to a local flower shop to pick up flowers during the junior varsity game, which they gave to Wersland when the starting lineups were introduced before the varsity game.
“It’s just nice to be supportive of people. It’s really unfortunate that happened to her and even though we have a rivalry it’s still good to have good relationships with them,” Bountiful soccer senior Ashley Wilkinson said.
The show of support by Bountiful players was orchestrated by their team captains, Wilkinson said. She found out from one of her Bountiful teammates, who is also a player for the Surf.
“We talked to a couple of her (Viewmont) teammates and (they) said she was having a rough time of it and that made us want to do it even more,” Wilkinson said.
Last week was difficult and Keddington hopes the gestures allowed Brooke to find some level of comfort.
Bountiful hasn’t been the only source of support. As of Friday afternoon, more than $12,000 had been raised for a memorial fund set up for Mikal Wersland’s four children.