It’s been said many times, but the Southern West Virginia King’s Warriors are not your typical soccer club. That much was evident following Saturday night’s match when manager Scott Reitnour walked off the field with a beaming smile, something most coaches wouldn’t do after being shut out 3-0 by the Carolina Dynamo in the final home match of the season.
“The soccer was a bit frustrating, because we played quite well and had so much of the ball. We generated plenty of chances,” Reitnour said.
But for Reitnour and the rest of the King’s Warriors organization, the loss wasn’t the highlight of the night. It was the opportunity to help someone in need.
Nathan Williams, a young Summers County boy, was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, while his family struggled financially.
Once a week, Nathan’s mother, Amanda, pays someone $50 to drive them to Charleston for his treatment. But thanks to the generosity of the King’s Warriors and the local community, the family will no longer need to do that.
At halftime, the King’s Warriors presented the Williams family with a car, paid for by the team. An anonymous donor also gave $1,000 worth of prepaid gas cards to help the family during its travels.
“The highlight of the night was giving the car to Nathan,” Reitnour said. “I mean, to me, I can’t walk off the field disappointed when you’re able to share Jesus’ love with a family that is hurting, and you know, is so happy and excited to receive a little help.”
As rewarding as it was for the Warriors to help others, there wasn’t much reward waiting for them on the pitch.
In the 17th minute, Carolina Dynamo’s Mamadee Neypon connected with a beautiful bicycle kick over the head of Warriors keeper Stephen Moffitt to put the Dynamo up 1-0 over Southern West Virginia.
It was the only goal Reitnour felt mattered.
“That goal that was scored was fantastic, and that is the goal that beat us,” Reitnour said. “That’s all I have to say about the goals that were scored tonight.”
The final two goals were mired in controversy.
In the 61st minute, Neypon once again connected with a goal to the back of the net. It was, however, met with much protest as Neypon appeared to be several yards offside before connecting the shot.
Just 8 minutes later, the King’s Warriors Mikey Robinson was awarded a free kick, but the ball was blocked from only two yards out, eight yards closer than rules allow, by the Dynamo’s Brandt Bronico and shot passed Moffit for the final goal of the match.
“The first goal that was scored is the goal that beat us,” Reitnour said. “That’s what it took to beat us tonight. Hats off to Dynamo. Hats off to Mamadee. Well done.”
“They had one incredibly beautiful goal,” owner James Blume said. “We felt like the others were assisted by the referees. We’ll leave it at that.”
The King’s Warriors fell to 4-8-0 on the season and were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. They will have an opportunity, however, to pick up a club record fifth win next weekend when they travel to Virginia Beach and Northern Virginia to wrap up the season.
Reitnour, however, isn’t ready to talk about next season — or if he’ll be a part of the King’s Warriors organization moving forward. Reitnour currently resides in North Carolina, where he coaches one of the top prep soccer programs in the country, Wesleyan Christian Academy.
They’re currently on a 28-match win streak.
“I would say there’s a good chance of that,” Reitnour said of returning next season. “I’m a Christian, and I pray about things. So at the end of every season, I’ll probably do a little bit of a fast, speak with my family and ultimately do whatever my wife tells me to do.”
One person hoping to see him back will be Blume.
“I think these guys will take these memories with them and they’ll be better people for it,” he said. “They’ll have an impact on the community as well. I’m sorry we didn’t bring the community a winner as far as wins and loses but these guys are all winners.”
— E-mail: jrollins
@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.