Lockland Soccer

The Lockland Panthers Varsity soccer team is on cloud nine after notching their first win! But it's not just about the wins; it's about their amazing journey so far.

Just a year ago, most of these players were stepping onto the soccer field for the very first time as part of Lockland High School's inaugural club soccer team. Fast forward to today, and they've made history by becoming the first-ever Lockland High School varsity boys soccer team that includes a roster of boys and girls.

Assistant Coach Kate Miller and Coach Shannon Fischer

The brainchild of English as a Second Language Teacher and Assistant Coach Kate Miller and Intervention Specialist and Coach Shannon Fischer, this soccer dream was hatched during a fun-filled field day three years ago. The spark ignited while playing soccer with students and kept burning during their Girls on the Run coaching sessions.

In 2022, they kicked things off with a soccer club to gauge interest, practicing once a week. "We started with almost nothing," admitted Coach Miller. Lockland, being one of the poorest school districts, meant they needed help equipping the team from scratch.

They turned to the community and social media for help. The community came through in a big way! Jim Frank, founder of "It Starts with Shoes," led the charge by donating soccer socks and shoes through his foundation. He didn't stop there and even supported a summer camp for the students. Mr. Frank continues to lend his talents to the team and provide much-needed shoes and socks.

But that's not all; friends of Coach Miller, a Madeira resident, parents of Madeira High School’s JV soccer team, and local churches joined the cause, providing everything from food for soccer camp to T-shirts and more. Coach Miller even secured a grant from Thrivent!

Lockland Science Teacher Melissa Schowalter’s niece also chipped in. U.S Soccer team player, Sophia Smith is sponsored by Nike, she secured a gift worth $10,000. It included bags for the students, practice kits, balls, and more.

Now, in their debut varsity year, the Lockland Panthers are celebrating a few unexpected victories, but the real win is the joy they bring to the field. As Coach Fischer put it, "Win or lose, they are having a blast!"

In fact, the volleyball team is coming out to watch them play because they're the most fun team to watch. They play with smiles, they cheer each other on, and they are happy - what's not to love?

The coaches, athletes and dedicated volunteers are looking forward to more great games this season, and building on the program in 2024. Donations and volunteers continue to be appreciated as well.

“As a district, we are always looking for ways to increase opportunities allowing us to equip, engage and motivate our students in order to create positive post-secondary outcomes.  The Lockland Soccer team is an excellent example of our students, staff, coaches and the community coming together to create experiences for kids based on their interests,” Superintendent Bob Longworth said.