LAKE WYLIE — If this is what these girls’ coach has them do for fun, just imagine what conditioning or punishment must be.
Brian McPherson insists it will all be in fun, and his soccer players are buying in on the Feb. 9 fundraiser that will literally have them dribbling up and down a mountain. It may sound like a “way back when” story that grandparents tell, but players are pumped for the fundraiser inspired by a local school and its nearby monadnock.
“The girls are trying to raise money for the club by getting friends and family members to pledge donations for every lap the girls dribble a soccer ball up and down Nanny’s Mountain,” said McPherson, manager of the Discoveries Soccer Club under 10 Lady Green team. “It’s taking the typical carwash, doughnut sale fundraiser to the next level.”
Discoveries is based in Rock Hill, but has satellite teams that practice at Oakridge Middle School. McPherson and his daughter, Olivia, along with teammate McKenna Woodhead, live in Lake Wylie. McPherson got the idea to take on the mountain from a Crowders Creek Elementary School fundraiser, a “booster-thon” where children are sponsored for running laps around a track.
“We thought that we could take it a step further and put a soccer ball at the kids feet and add more interest by having them dribble in more difficult conditions,” McPherson said, “challenging them more and making the fundraiser more fulfilling.”
Enter Nanny’s Mountain, the former iron works location and current park on a two-mile-around jutting together of Appalachia mountain and Carolina clay. Living nearby, McPherson knew the area. Others aren’t quite as familiar with the mountain that climbs to an elevation of around 1,001 feet.
Samantha Ammann has been with the club two years, but she’s never dribbled up any mountains.
“I have not been to Nanny’s Mountain before,” she said. “My plan is to dribble 15 to 20 laps.”
Rock Hill resident Carly Kennedy hasn’t been either, but that fact isn’t stopping her from employing a little strategy.
“I’m the goalkeeper on the team, and I think I should be the last to go up the mountain so I can scoop up any balls my teammates lose along the way,” she said. “That way I can practice my dribbling and my goalie skills at the same time.”
There are nine girls on the team, many having played since age 4. They’re currently ranked No. 8 in the state, having won three of the past four tournaments they entered. Even McPherson calls it a bit of an “outrageous idea” having 8- and 9-year-olds take on a mountain, but the team is used to challenges.
And they’re looking forward to this one.
“They work very hard and love their game of soccer,” McPherson said.
For more information about the club, team or to make a pledge, call 704-507-7615.