Family atmosphere is literal for ABC men's soccer team

Photo courtesy of Appalachian Bible CollegeThe men’s soccer team at Appalachian Bible College has four sets of brothers. Pictured are: front, from left, David Weaver, Timothy Hock, Wesley Rinehart and Jansen Lorch; back, from left, Zach Weaver, David Hock, Zachary Rinehart and coach Jonathan Lorch.

A team can have the most talented players and the best coach, but all that would mean nothing if there is no team chemistry.

The men’s soccer team at Appalachian Bible College has no problem establishing a family atmosphere. In fact, it comes natural.

The Warriors have to be one of the most unique programs in college sports. There are four sets of brothers on the team, and that includes the head coach.

With Jonathan Lorch leading the way, the family atmosphere has taken on a whole new meaning at the Mount Hope school.

“They can work together and read each other when they are on the field,” said Lorch, who played at ABC from 2010-12. “It creates a good bond kind of, because when you’ve got brothers joking around or helping each other out, the other teammates get along with that, too.”

Among the players on the 17-man roster is Lorch’s little brother Jansen Lorch. Jansen is a sophomore midfielder from Lapeer, Mich.

“It’s great, honestly, being able to connect with him,” Jansen said. “On the field we kind of can read each other’s minds a little bit. We knew when something needs to be done, we just do it. We kind of get the eye contact and try to get it done.”

The other brother tandems are David Hock and Timothy Hock, David Weaver and Zach Weaver and Wesley Rinehart and Zach Rinehart.

l David and Timothy came to ABC last year as missionary kids from Montevideo, Uruguay, where their father plants churches. Even more unique is that last season they were joined on the team by older brother Matthew.

David and Timothy had never played organized soccer before joining the Warriors.

“We’s play out on the street with friends or if there was a field nearby,” David said. “At first it was intimidating (on the Appalachian Bible team), especially playing against bigger teams. But I have thoroughly enjoyed it.”

“I came here to serve the ministry,” Timothy said. “I just wanted to play any type of sport. I don’t really like basketball, so I just took what they had. I’ve been learning a lot and pushing myself.”

l David and Zach Weaver had the unique experience of scoring their first collegiate goals in the same game against Southern State Community College.

“Road trips are a lot of fun,” Zach joked about the family atmosphere. “Our chemistry is very much improved from last year. Some of the teams we have played we haven’t gotten beaten as bad as we did last year, and we’ve even won a couple.”

David and Zach actually had more than 10 years experience in organized soccer before coming to ABC.

“My brother came here, so he dragged me along,” David joked. “It definitely helps with chemistry, because the more people that know how to react to the other player, the better.”

l Zach and Wesley Rinehart are the sons of ABC professor John Rinehart. Their background in soccer mostly was formed through rec leagues until starting their careers with ABC.

Zach said each player is having fun with the sport while keeping it in perspective. After all, soccer isn’t the calling that brought them here.

“We’re coming here for the ministry, we’re not here for sports,” he said. “To say anyone is the greatest soccer player in the world — not by any stretch of the imagination. But everyone is very understanding. Everyone knows we’re here for exercise, we’re here for fun, we’re getting to spend time with each other. Soccer is a blast to play, anyway. And it doesn’t mean that you don’t work hard. Everyone knows some of the talent is lacking, so I think that makes us work harder in practices, because we know we have to make up for time we haven’t played.”

“I definitely want to served the Lord with my life,” Wesley said. “And I love this school. So the fact that we can play soccer here — and I love Coach; he’s a really great guy — and being with a bunch of other Christian guys is just a blast. We really like humor and there’s a lot of good times.”

They are, after all, still college kids.

“Soccer’s probably 50 percent of the reason I play. The other half is the away trips, the fun. You get to skip class,” Wesley said with a smile.

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With all the similar last names, verbal communication can get tricky. Referring to a player by his last name is not a good idea.

But that problem is compounded by so many similar first names as well.

“My name is Zach and (there is another Zach). There’s two Dans. So it doesn’t help to say ‘Rinehart,’ but it also doesn’t help to say ‘Zach,’” Zach Rinehart said. “It’s halfway through the season and we’re still trying to figure out what we’re calling each other. We have (developed a system), but it still messes up every once in a while.”

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The Warriors are 4-5-2 on the season. They will have their Blue/Grey Alumni Game Friday at 2 p.m. before hitting the road Tuesday at Southern State.

— Email: and follow on Twitter @GaryFauber

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