SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Have you ever heard of the Lighthouse Christian Chargers?
You most likely have should you comply with highschool soccer within the Ozarks, though the Chargers don’t have a brick-and-mortar faculty. The soccer workforce is made up of all house faculty college students and, since its inception in 2006, has received 5 nationwide house faculty championships, together with one this previous 12 months.
However as an increasing number of dad and mom throughout the nation have been deciding to take away their youngsters from public or non-public colleges and educate them at house, the native house faculty athletic participation has grown as properly.
From 23 gamers in soccer in 2006, Lighthouse Christian has now grown to some 600 athletes in seven sports activities.
They usually’re all and not using a everlasting house.
All of the Charger groups lead a nomadic existence with practices and video games held wherever they will hire area.
“We had two or three totally different sports activities this 12 months that we didn’t know the place we have been going to observe till actually per week earlier than observe began,” mentioned Brett Williams, Lighthouse Christian’s Head Soccer Coach. “Additionally, with the onset of COVID, it’s been arduous to search out colleges that may hire us services. Plus, lots of our house faculty households have lots of youngsters. So mothers need to drive all around the metropolis to those totally different observe spots to drop their youngsters off. It creates a journey nightmare.”
However due to a lease settlement with the Fellowship Bible Church simply off Freeway 60 in Rogersville on Farm Highway 205, Lighthouse athletics hopes someday over the subsequent decade to lift the funding for an athletic advanced on what’s now the church’s fellowship farm.
A rendering of the property and the proposed advanced consists of an space for a brand new church after which a big car parking zone with a soccer stadium to the east. It could even have a monitor.
“We’ve obtained flag soccer that we begin for these Sept. 11 years previous, after which we now have junior excessive, JV, and varsity soccer,” Williams defined. “So we’re enthusiastic about having a spot for that, and we even have about 100 youngsters out for monitor and cross nation.”
Subsequent to the stadium can be an indoor facility for basketball and volleyball.
“The aim is to have 4 full-sized courts in there for volleyball and girls and boys basketball,” Williams mentioned. “There may even be a weight room, locker room, and an workplace space, plus we’re attempting to construct it in such a approach that we will hire it out to most of the people for occasions.”
Subsequent to the indoor facility can be a soccer area and baseball fields.
“We’re launching soccer within the fall,” Williams mentioned. “And we’ve obtained a full baseball program with near 100 youngsters there. Residence faculty athletics is simply bursting on the seams, and I don’t wish to neglect our cheerleading program. It is going to be a welcome scenario to lastly have a spot to name house.”
It’s estimated the soccer stadium alone would price $4 million. The group hopes to interrupt floor there subsequent January. For now, although, there’s loads of journey forward for the soccer Chargers.
“We don’t have a house stadium, so we’re enjoying loads on the street,” Williams mentioned. “We’re going to Oklahoma. We’re going to Arkansas to play a workforce from Louisiana who’s going to satisfy us midway. We’re going to St. Louis to satisfy a workforce from Ohio. We’ll undergo no matter lengths we now have to with the intention to get alternatives for our younger individuals. One of many causes for wanting this facility is we would like our house faculty to have the identical services and alternatives as public faculty youngsters. We now have lots of public faculty campuses round right here the place the youngsters have nice fields, weight rooms, and services. And I feel it opens up extra alternatives when you could have all that stuff at your fingertips to carry extra faculty scholarships to your gamers.”
As for cash, the Herschend household has already made a major donation, and Lighthouse has began its personal fundraising mission with loads of assist.
“We already had someone provide to construct the load room totally free,” Williams mentioned with a smile.
However he additionally identified that the sports activities advanced is a piece in progress that will be in-built phases with a time-frame primarily based on money-raised and supply-chain points.
So why now?
“The best way house faculty sports activities is rising, if we don’t take these steps now, I don’t know if we’ll be capable to assist the demand,” Williams answered.
Williams, an insurance coverage agent along with Lighthouse Christian’s soccer coach, is aware of what it’s like to remain busy and tackle challenges. The daddy-of-five performed as an offensive sort out for the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs for 2 years earlier than struggling a career-ending harm. Earlier than that, he was an All-American lineman who performed in three nationwide championship video games for Florida State. He credit his coach there, the legendary Bobby Bowden, with instilling his ardour to work with younger individuals.
“He was a robust Christian instance,” Williams mentioned. “And to at the present time, individuals’s lives are higher for having performed for him. I simply need to have the ability to give a few of that again and do one thing that may hopefully go away a legacy and an affect right here for a very long time.”
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