The Loveland Storm FC website opens with a creative graphic saying: “Soccer Reimagined” – just ask any of the many volunteer coaches involved, they’ll tell you it is NOT just a slogan. So, when you find dozens of coaches gathered together on a Sunday evening in October mixing, mingling, sharing a bite to eat, and a refreshing beverage, not to mention some soccer stories, and some cool soccer swag, you know this club is serious about reimagining soccer. It starts with a lot of volunteers giving a lot of time to teach youth more than just soccer. That carries over to showing those volunteers appreciation. That is exactly what Sunday evening at Narrow Path Brewing on the Scenic Little Miami Trail was all about.
For Erika True, who played locally as a youth, went on to play and coach in college, coming back to give back is important. She knows it is all about recognizing the 225 volunteers who really make Loveland Storm FC more than just a soccer club.
“Sometimes it’s hard to say thank you to such a huge number,” said True. “For us, being able to do something, even as little as this, it’s a huge thing in helping us recruit, bring coaches back the following year.”
“It’s getting harder and harder to find volunteers,” True explained. “If we create this community, this kind of unit, I think we grow our numbers. It’s huge. We have huge program numbers right now.”
On Sunday evening, the coaches were showered with gifts, met other coaches they don’t always get to meet and so much more. Gifts were donated; parents donated money which the organization put back into the local Loveland community.
“These buildings, these businesses all around us got our money back into it,” True said. “Gift cards were bought, gift baskets for raffle, we’re basically showering them with that. Free food, free drinks, basically a time to say thank you.”
It’s working. Just ask Coach Jason Peter who was among the many coaches enjoying the evening of fun from Loveland Storm FC. He is coach for a boys team made up of 15 year olds from around Loveland.
“Some are freshmen this year, a couple are sophomore’s,” said Peter. “I’ve been coaching since about 2007, somewhere in there, I think.”
Peter has been a volunteer coach for about 14 years. During that time, he has coached both girls and boys teams including his own daughter. He also served as an assistant varsity coach for Sycamore Lady Aves along the way.
“I got the bug,” Peter said. “It was the first time I ever did it when she (his daughter) was 6 or 7. I just had so much fun; I decided to keep doing it.”
Peter stuck with it as his daughters went through club soccer and high school soccer. He continued as his son began playing in the Loveland Storm FC program. He’s not aware of any other soccer organization having a coaches appreciation event like the one put on by Storm FC in Loveland.
“What I was most impressed about is that it’s all about the kids,” said Peter. “It wasn’t about money. It wasn’t about wins and losses. It was about teaching the kids, not only how to play the game, but how to grow up, be young adults and carry that into their future.”
Peter dreams of the day, 20 years from now, when these players, are coaching a team, coaching their kids and doing the same thing that he’s doing now. It’s the same dream, the same vision leadership of Loveland Storm FC has for development of the kids through soccer into good contributing adult citizens for the future. The organization teaches those lessons with a lot of off-the-field community giving projects.
“I’ve seen so many stories of, not only the organization as a whole, but individual teams going out and doing things,” Peter said. “It’s really refreshing tosee that.”
Check https://lovelandstormfc.org/ for more about Loveland Storm FC Soccer Organization