Verrado High School

Verrado High School junior safety Julian Virgen (5) and junior running back Juan Virgen (3) pose for a portrait at their Litchfield Park home.

Rivalries and sheer competitiveness are the best aspects of sports. The best type of “rivalry” just might be between brothers. 

Whether it’s playing video games, racing or participating in other sports, the desire to be better than your brother is deep and passionate. 

The Verrado High School football team has two sets of twins — the Condies and the Virgens. According to coach Dustin Johnson, Julian and Juan were born to be competitive. 

“When it comes to competition, they quit being brothers,” added assistant coach Mike Willey. “They will knock the heck out of each other.”

At Verrado High School football practice, Juan and Julian line up at free safety and running back, respectively. They have the same idea: to knock each other out. 

The brothers bonded with Willey when he coached them on his son’s team in their first season of tackle football in the seventh grade. Willey quickly saw the brothers’ passion and potential. 

“They had come from playing flag football, so this was their first experience with tackle and they got right into it,” Willey said. “They didn’t miss a beat. Their first day playing it looked like they had been playing for years.” 

Initially, the Virgens’ mother did not care for Willey, but the boys loved his tough coaching style. In turn, Willey admired the boys’ work ethic and competitiveness. Since then, the families have become friends. 

Now, as their high school coach, Willey witnessed the boys develop and improve their football skills. 

“They have always been super close. It’s funny to see how they’ve grown apart the last couple years. They aren’t so much the whole twin thing as they used to be,” Willey said.

The Virgens are still close, but they admitted they get annoyed with each other. 

Luckily, they have football to take the anger out on one another. Julian once leveled Juan during blocking practice, stood over his brother and talked smack. The move ended in laughter. Juan has one up on Julian — he’s technically 1 minute older. 

The trash talk is present at practice, and the coaches see the humor and fun in the brothers’ friendly competition.

“They bring a lot of enthusiasm to practice. They are just excited kids. They make practice interesting,” Johnson said. 

Their intense competition, blended with an incredible work ethic, results in improvement. Willey said when one brother becomes a little stronger or faster, the other works harder to catch up and surpass his counterpart. 

“They have an incredible work ethic. Constantly working in the gym or working in the offseason to get faster,” Willey said. 

A first-year coach, Johnson will also helm the boys track team, which will include Juan and Julian. They run the 100- and 200-meter dash, and when asked who is faster, they each claimed to be the faster brother because…well obviously.