Kadena NCO's Shogun Soccer Club a success

Kadena NCO's Shogun Soccer Club a success

by Airman 1st Class Keith James, 18th Wing Public Affairs
Kadena Air Base

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- "Sorry sir, there won't be a 2013 soccer intramural season this year due to funding ," the sad news Master Sgt. Jody Miller, 718th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron assistant superintendent received when he phoned over to the 18th Force Support Squadron.

"Due to the lack of funding, the 18th FSS was only able to fund four out five sports, and soccer got the boot," Miller said. "My commander, and I talked about it and decided why not create a bootleg season, basically start it up on our own."

Undeterred and unfazed by the news Miller and members from the 718th AMXS created the intramural league. The league needed items finding a field to utilize, referees, gathering equipment, organizing the league by setting standards and bylaws and most importantly getting the word out to the teams who were interested in participating.

"Once (Miller) got up and running, I helped him with whatever he needed and we considered him the CEO," said Tech. Sgt. Sean Donovan, 718th AMXS aircraft prolusions systems craftsman, jokingly.

Miller with the help of his leadership and members from his maintenance shop, was able to meet all the requirements for the season, and coordinated with Ryukyu Middle School and Department of Defense Education Activity to use their field for the entire season. He also found volunteer referees, and participants to bring personal soccer balls.

The season kicked off in October, with three games between the hours of 2 and 5 p.m. every Sunday, through January. The league had 12 teams, one being a Marine team, with everyone excited to get out there on the field.

"Overall everyone had very positive attitudes," Donovan said. "Everyone was just happy to get their cleats on and get out there on the field and play."

Miller created a Facebook page called "Shogun Soccer Club". The page was used to set up the brackets that divided the teams into two divisions: East and West. The page also acted as a hub to send out information such as current records, statistics, schedules, and allowed for players to converse between each other and ensured the season.

Miller plans to create a soccer league year round with the standard 11 vs. 11 with 35 minute half' s, using the same system previously used, but opening it up to all, not just squadron teams.

"Were looking for all those other teams, more Marine teams, possibly an Army team and there's word that the Japan Air Self Defense Force is interested in taking part," Miller said. "So this time around should be interesting and hopefully a different turn out."

The Marines ended up winning the championship and were presented a trophy purchased through donations from each of the teams, ending the season with an excellent turn out.

"If the 18th FSS doesn't do intermural soccer again come October, we're ready to do another," Miller said.

In this day and age of the military, sequestration, force management and resiliency are popular topics and for good reason. The Air Force is currently undergoing various changes with cut backs, reducing its numbers of personnel which affect service members and their everyday lives. But, by staying resilient like in Miller's case, it just goes to show that when you want something badly enough, it can be accomplished.

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