By Zach Womble for The White House Connection
Over the course of the last twenty or so seasons, John Lees and the White House Select Soccer Program have seen tremendous players come and go, but none more so than the boys below.
For the past ten seasons coach John will coach, or has coached, Christian Warren (Greenbrier), Logan Trimmer (White House), Dakota Carlisle (Springfield), Josh Dunlap (White House) and Thomas Harris (Springfield). They all play for the select program in White House during the spring but are also competing for their respective high school programs on the football field.
“I absolutely encourage them to play football,” said Lees. “I never give them a ‘this or that’ situation. I say, go enjoy other sports because that is how you will know what you enjoy. If you ate steak for 30 days, you’d die for a salad.”
Warren and Trimmer have been with Smith the longest, 10 years, while Carlisle joined a year after and Harris is entering his first year. Dunlap started with Smith but went on to another club; eventually finding his way back to Smith.
The club has two sections, recreation and select.
“This (recreation) is the river that feeds the sea (select),” said Lees. “In the past it was us and them. These guys didn’t like these guys because they were snooty and these guys thought these guys didn’t know what real soccer was. When I became DOC I needed to unify this. If this is the river that feeds the sea, we want a clean river.
“Unless you know where you are headed and everybody is on board with it, you’re probably not going to get there anyway,” added Lees.
John has developed these players over the course of their time and knows the one true value that comes in soccer is not wins or loses.
“Fun is essential,” said Lees. “Unless kids enjoy playing the game they are going to quit. Above all we teach them life skills.”
There is no doubt coach John has left an impression on the kids that will carry them into the future.
“I really want them to say, ‘I really enjoyed my coach. He thought about me as much of a person as he did an athlete,'” he said. “That will be my legacy.”
John, I really enjoyed talking to you and I can see why these young men are going to succeed in whatever they choose. You’re an excellent role model and parents should drive out of their way just so their kid can be taught by you and your assistant coach, Matt Warren.