After one season, the soccer program being built by head coach Mike Hines is already making its mark on Republic. On the field, Hines has seen improvement from both teams. Off the field, the Tigers and Lady Tigers put in extra effort that helped the program stand out.
The two teams raised more than $8,000 for charity this season, by selling T-shirts and collecting donations from the community. It started with the boys team raising money for breast cancer awareness in the fall.
“I hadn’t planned on it being such an effort the first year. I kind of wanted to get our feet wet,” Hines said. “But it wasn’t until I had a young man come to me…and said ‘Coach, this is something I want to do,’ and within a week, they’d gone out and raised over $3,000 in donations. That, to me, was very significant.”
The girls followed up in the spring, with a fundraiser of their own, which they called the “Attack Autism” game. With more time to plan, the girls raised even more money for charity.
“We’re going to end up giving a check to ‘Autism Speaks’ for almost $6,000,” said Hines. “I couldn’t be happier. I think the kids get out of it what they put into it, and some kids worked really hard.
“The T-shirt for the autism game was designed by a student. I actually had a young lady that designed a ball that we’re trying to have ‘Autism Speaks’ sell on a national scale. All the publications were made by students. So a few got their hands dirty in this whole process, and they really enjoyed it.”
For Hines, building an athletic program is about more than getting good athletes. “One of my goals is for them to be productive citizens, and part of that is taking care of people who are around you,” he said. “I think it’s just part of the learning process.
“I’m pretty adamant in character and commitment, and I think this is just another way we can have our athletes show that.”