By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
The ground may be covered with snow, but Dr. James Blume Jr. has visions of the lush green grass at the Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex on which his Southern West Virginia King’s Warriors will soon be playing.
“It’s always soccer season,” Dr. Blume said with a smile.
Blume is the founder and president of the Nehemiah Group, which serves as the ownership group for the team.
The Kings Warriors set out in their debut season last year hoping to win 25 percent of their games. By going 4-10-2, that’s exactly what they did. Blume has higher expectations for 2013.
“Sometimes I wind up getting carried away with my hopes, but from a purely practical standpoint I want us to be 50 percent or a winner,” Blume said. “There have been some changes in our league, so we think we’re going to be a very strong contender. The possibility of winning it is always there. To do that, we’re going to have to be able to knock off Carolina Dynamo, a perennial contender.”
Those expectations fall straight on the shoulders of returning manager Scott Reitnour.
“We’re delighted to have Scott back as our head coach for the 2013 season,” Blume said. “He did an incredible job leading our first-year team on and off the field. With our late start, it was a difficult task to recruit a team and put all the pieces in place, and Scott did well with the many challenges he had to deal with.”
“I am really excited to return for a second season with the King’s Warriors,” Reitnour said.
Reitnour, who is also the coach of the 2012 North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association champion Wesleyan Christian Academy, will rely on several returning players in hopes of winning more than four games.
Three key players — defenders Harry Sherwood and Carter Robbins and goalkeeper Erik Mozzo — will help lead a team that will also include forward Jorge Martinez, midfielders Stephen Millage, Mark Mitchell and Bennie Bardales and defenders Byron Ramirez Knowles and Jordan Devlin.
“I’m really looking forward to sharing another summer with the King’s Warriors,” Sherwood said. “To carry on from where we left off last season off the field and to improve from the foundation we laid on the field. It’s going to be a great summer for everyone involved.”
Unlike most professional sports teams, the King’s Warriors also focus as a Christian ministry, encouraging their players to spend time in the community and be examples of godly role models.
“I think our team will have a significant impact on the southern West Virginia community off the field,” Reitnour said. “The types of players we are recruiting to the King’s Warriors environment are players who are focused on loving God and serving other people.”
The King’s Warriors will also introduce a host of new players this season, including a trio of young players from UNC-Greensboro.
The team teased that it will be adding a member of the U-23 Columbian national team soon, but it has not released his name at this time.
The orange-and-black attack will kick off its season on May 18 against an in-state rival, West Virginia Chaos from Charleston, in Beckley. The game will be played at the Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex at the same time as the WVSA State Cup.
“I think we have a great home schedule for 2013,” media relations director Tim Donelli said. “With six of our seven home games on weekends, this will make it very convenient for our fans to come out and support the team.”
— E-mail: jrollins