Akron Inner City Soccer Club was founded in the fall of 1999. The purpose was to provide a safe, fun activity for the development of soccer skills at an affordable cost to inner city youth and any other child wanting to participate. Flyers were placed in various businesses around the West Akron area. Letters were mailed to many organizations requesting financial support for this new endeavor. The first registration took place at Maple Valley Library and 33 boys and girls signed up. Emmanuel Omobien, Ashley Williams, and Dele Olabisi were the first coaches to volunteer their time. Pastor Dennis Butts from The House of the Lord was gracious enough to come out that first Saturday to pray for God’s blessings over the program. The children met every Saturday morning for eight weeks to practice. The fall session ended with a scrimmage between the children and their parents. Papa John’s donated pizza for the end of the season celebration.
By the spring of 2000, the program had gained attention in the community mostly through word of mouth. The number of children registering increased to 66 and five more coaches volunteered their time—Bill Brown, Keith Jemison, Fabian Onunaku, Innocent Okolo, and Ike Sampson-Akpan. Our first financial support was received from the Akron Community Foundation on behalf of the Knight Foundation and the Odom Foundation, Charles E. & Mabel M. Ritchie Foundation, Lloyd L. & Louise K. Smith Memorial Foundation, and Laura R. & Lucian Q. Moffitt Foundation, though First Merit and PPG Give Foundation also provided financial support during this time.
By the fall of 2000, three new coaches signed on and the number of players grew to 80. The new coaches to join the organization were—Tyarlo Geffrard, McDonald Akheituam, and Jon Rostedt. Allstate was added to the list of financial supporters and service support came from Graffiti Print Shop, CTI Web Services, and The Frontline Soccer Store/
In January 2001, our organization was blessed with the opportunity to play indoor soccer games against other teams in the community. The games were held at Play On Soccer on Copley Road in Copley, Ohio. We registered four teams for ten weeks of indoor soccer games. Coach Dele nicknamed the first teams reminiscent with the forces of nature, hence: Avalanche, Hurricanes, Volcanoes, and Thunder.
About 55 children came out of winter hibernation and participated in the games. It was a great experience for the children and we thanked God for the unexpected blessing and opportunity. We officially joined the Greater Akron Soccer Amateur Soccer Association (GAASA) and registered five teams. Financial support has been provided by Akron Golf Charities, Ohio Youth Soccer Association North (OYSAN) and the Rubbermaid Foundation. Service support has been provided by Play On Soccer and Pizza Hut.
Today, we look back and thank God for His blessings and look forward to His anticipated blessings in the future. Our heartfelt thanks to all who made this dream a reality.