Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

May 13, 2014

Ministry with a ball

King’s Warriors make debut in Bluefield on Friday

EAST RIVER — Andrew Dailey has a thought-provoking manner to explain how the Southern West Virginia King’s Warriors will serve as not only a semi-professional soccer team, but also as a ministry team in the area for the next two-plus months.

“...ball is a perfect tool to spread the Word,” Dailey said. “Moses had a staff, we have a ball.”

A collection of nearly 30 athletes from 11 countries gathered at East River Soccer Complex on Tuesday morning for a practice session to prepare for the King’s Warriors season opener on Friday against the South Carolina United Bantams.

Kickoff time at East River is slated for 7 p.m. Ticket prices range from $5 to $8 apiece.

Dailey, who will serve as a goalkeeper coach for the King’s Warriors, encourages the community to check out what is expected to be an exciting brand of what is known worldwide at ‘The Beautiful Game.’  

“It is probably going to be the highest level soccer they have ever seen,” said Dailey, who will serve as an assistant under head coach Scott Reitnour.

The King’s Warriors have already produced professional players in its two years of existence, including last year’s leading scorer Billy Forbes, who led the team in scoring with 17 points last season. He recently signed to play professionally with the San Antonio Scorpions of the North American Soccer League.

“It is going to be some of the best players. We have got several future pros on this team, that when they get done they will go somewhere and play pro, they will get paid to play,” Dailey said. “We will play a possession-oriented style, and with our speed it is going to be exciting.

“We have a lot of individual talent and if we can get them working as one unit, it is going to be a lot of fun.”

While the King’s Warriors are a soccer team, that isn’t the most important function served by the organization, which had been based the previous two summers in Beckley.

“We are a semi-professional team where we bring kids from all over the world and different colleges during the summer and we throw them into an environment that a lot of them aren’t comfortable with,” said Dailey, a native of Tupelo, Miss., who is back for his second season with the Warriors. “We are a ministry team and so what we want to do is teach these men how to be Godly men, not necessarily just Godly, but men in general, how to be good husbands, for their future, good fathers.

“We will do a little bit of ministry with the team, teaching the guys ministry and then we go out into the community and ministry. The kids are great, we get out, we hang out with the kids, the parents cook out, things like that, so we just try to get as involved in the community as much as possible.”

The King’s Warriors will reside in Hinton, but will also be involved in Bluefield and throughout this region of the Mountain State.

“Absolutely, now that we are here and Bluefield has been so welcoming to us, we hope to help the game grow and help to interact with the kids around here,” said Dailey, who will be joined as assistant coaches by John Miglarese and Paul Cox. ‘We have done little clinics here to help out at the beginning of the season, unfortunately it rained, but throughout the summer we will try to do things like that and be involved in the Bluefield community.

“As we say, the Southern West Virginia King’s Warriors, we are not just Hinton, we are not just Bluefield, not just Athens, we are here for everybody so we try to spread us out as much as possible and interact.”

The King’s Warriors will bring a high level of semi-professional soccer to East River for eight home dates, beginning on Friday with the Bantams and running through July 19. Seven other games will be played on the road, with hopes of more action if they’re able to qualify for postseason play.

Playing in the Premier Developmental League, the King’s Warriors have gone 8-20-2 in the last two seasons, including a 4-10 mark in 2013, but Dailey likes the potential of the current squad.

Only eight of the 28 players are returning from last year, making the King’s Warriors much like an Appalachian League team that must be blended into a cohesive unit on the field.

“We feel much more better this year. We feel on paper we are a much, much stronger team, now we are just getting them to play together,” said Dailey, who is optimistic about the Warriors’ chances to compete for the PDL title. “You have got guys coming from different coaching backgrounds.

“We are trying to implement and imprint our style and get them comfortable with playing with each other.”

The roster is packed with 28 players from 11 countries, with colleges from 10 states represented, including Division I prospects from N.C. State, Fairleigh Dickinson, Old Dominion and Appalachian State.

Other familiar schools represented include Appalachian Athletic Conference products from Bryan and Milligan, and Mid-South Conference prospects from Pikeville and Lindsey Wilson.

Dailey isn’t worried too much about finding playing time for all 28 players. With the Warriors’ physical, all-out style of play, these guys might need a break over the next two months.

“You need these players because with the way we work them and the games are so demanding,” said Dailey, whose Warriors also have a U-19 team that travels the region. “Guys are going to get injured, guys are going to need rest, you need that kind of numbers for it.”

Much like American football, there are numerous brands of soccer, but Dailey thinks the King’s Warriors will play a style that will be appealing, possibly even providing a bushel of goals per game.

“We will play essentially a 4-2-3-1 — a 4-3-3 essentially — we are going to try to play pretty soccer,” Dailey said. “We are going to keep possession, we have got a lot of speed up top so hopefully lots of goals...

“It will be much more physical game than what they have seen around here.”

Dailey expects a lot of close games, with the Warriors slated to play four teams four times each, with their particular PDL division comprised of teams from South Carolina, North Carolina, Cincinnati, Louisville, Ky. and the West Virginia Chaos based in Charleston.

“It is going to be a good division again so I would expect tight game again,” Daily said. “Obviously we would like 4-0 games for us, 3-0 games, but everybody is going to have great players.

“It is going to be a good battle, everybody is going to work hard so I expect them to be pretty tight from my understanding.”

Dailey said the eight players who are back with the King’s Warriors, including third-year performer Harry Sherwood, will be expected to help the new recruits in adjusting to their role this summer, on and — more importantly — off the field.

“They are mentors, and they will get them adjusted to what we are about,” Dailey said. “A lot of these guys, it is culture shock, it is completely new, the team concept, completely new.

“We are a ministry team that is more into the players than we care about the game. We care about the game, we want to win, but we care just as much about the individual and helping their growth.”

The cost of admission is $8 for adults (ages 17-up) and $5 for children. For ticket information or to learn more about the King’s Warriors, call 304-466-9080 or visit www.kingswarriors.org. The team can also be reached by email at wvkingswarriors@yahoo.com

Editor’s Note: Look for features later this week on Harry Sherwood, a European-born player, who is in his third season with the King’s Warriors, and Jonathan “Boo” Davis, a goalkeeper from N.C. State, who is currently in his inaugural year with the team.

—Contact Brian Woodson bwoodson@bdtonline.com

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