TRAVERSE CITY — This week Jeff Lhamon can see the fruits of labor from 10 years of coaching youth soccer.
Players from Traverse City West, Bellaire, Traverse City Christian and Leland are gearing up for the MHSAA soccer regionals, which begin today across the state, but before they were able to help lift their teams to this point in the postseason, they were honing their skills under the tutelage of Lhamon in Traverse City.
Lhamon coached a number of the players who have keyed their teams’ runs to district championships, starting with the TBAYS program and then with the North Storm 96 travel team.
“A lot of those boys, some of them I had since they were 8 years old,” said Lhamon. “We played rec league and then I went and got my official (coaching) license. Then we moved on and started playing North Storm Premier League. I coached my son, obviously he was on there. I knew some of the boys. I first started when they were little. I’m very competitive and I felt they could use a little bit more of a boost toward the competitive side of the game. I just stuck with it. The (TBAYS) director of coaching at that time wanted me to do it so I took it on and had some fun with it.”
They had some success, too.
Starting with the bottom Classic Series Division, the North Storm squad quickly advanced through every division it was in until it reached the Premier 1 Division last year. Along the way it captured the championships of many of those divisions as well as eight different tournaments. At one point the team was even ranked among the best travel teams in the state.
“It’s taught me everything I know about soccer,” sad Jack Lhamon, Jeff’s son and a senior midfielder for Traverse City West. “The way I play now is the way my dad’s taught me to play and how all the assistant coaches I’ve had through TBAYS and other coaches I’ve had through TBAYS. I’ve taken little bits and pieces from everyone there. It definitely prepared me for where I am now.”