180FW Airman Coaches Youth Soccer

  • Published
  • By Airman Camren Ray
  • 180th Fighter Wing

Being a member of the Air National Guard is a unique military experience. In the Air National Guard, Airmen can serve their country, while also being able to hold a civilian job, go to school and volunteer in their communities.

Lt. Col Bradley Luring, the comptroller commander assigned to the Ohio National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing, has always had an interest in sports. Playing soccer and basketball in high school, Luring has always been active with sports and activities.

When his youngest daughter, Audra, began taking an interest in soccer and basketball as well, Luring realized that he was not the type of parent to sit on the sidelines and watch the games, he wanted to actively be involved in their practices and games.

“It’s hard for me to be on the sidelines,” said Luring. “I just would rather be coaching because I feel I would be able to get these girls to where they need to be.”

Luring has been coaching his daughter’s soccer team since they were in kindergarten. He has been able to teach them how the game of soccer works and watch them grow into the game.

“One of the best parts of coaching is watching the progression,” said Luring. “Especially when everything we learned in practice clicks during a game.”

With the competitive nature of sports, Luring and his team feel down after enduring a loss.

“It’s hard to lose,” said Luring. “No one likes it, but it’s character-building when you lose.”

After a loss, the team can grow from their mistakes and improve. The hard work put into practice pays off during the games. The dedication the girls put into the sport can be seen through athletes they look up to as young aspiring athletes themselves.

Caitlin Clark is an example Luring likes to use to show how hard work pays off. He cites how many hours she has put into her sport by going to the gym and practicing her game to become better.

“You see the way she shoots and think about how much she works,” said Luring. “None of that stuff just happens.”

But soccer isn’t just about winning and scoring goals, it’s about passing, formations, strategy and running. While all the things taught during practice are important to the game, some are favored less than others.

“Our coaches make us run too much,” said two of the girls on the team.

Luring explains that even he doesn’t like running, but while it is difficult and something the girls may not like, it helps make them better.

“You have to make yourself do hard things, so other things in life are easier,” said Luring.

During games where the same girls keep scoring, Luring will encourage the girls to work together to help a teammate who hasn’t scored, score. With goals like this, the girls build their teamwork skills while their teammate gains the personal accomplishment of scoring.

“I’ll tell all the girls on the team let’s get this person to score,” said Luring. “Let’s try to get her scoring.”

“The best part of soccer is winning, scoring and making new friends,” said Sailor Benz-Peavy.

To Luring, the score doesn’t matter, he wants to see how each of his players work together as a team to help a fellow teammate and how they encourage them to get involved in the game.

“The Air Force is a perfect example of a team,” said Luring. “We all have different roles and if we work against each other, the whole thing doesn’t work.”

The principals that Luring teaches and instills in his team are the same principles that have shaped Luring as a military member and a coach.

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