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Shawnee Mission East boys soccer using minds, feet to achieve goals both on, and off field

SME Soccer Shoe Drive.jpg
Posted at 5:19 PM, Oct 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-24 19:32:55-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Shawnee Mission East boys soccer captain Ike Sheets isn't modest when describing his team's goals.

"We've got plans to win it all," the senior said.

I spoke with Sheets and his teammate Miles Crosser just one day after the team tallied a 10-0 shutout victory.

"A state championship," Crosser told me. "That's what our school has been looking for, for so long. We've got the talent to do it this year."

But they also have the compassion to give back.

"For every goal we score, parents pass around a hat and donate money into the hat because we scored a goal," head coach Jamie Kelly says. "It goes to a charity of the soccer players' choice. The more goals we score, the better we do."

Kelly said he didn't have to do much convincing to help the boys chose a charity - KSHB 41's Gift of Sole.

GIFT OF SOLE | How you can help

"I sent a group text and everybody just liked it," Crosser told me. "Everybody thought it was the coolest charity ever."

It was also an easy choice for Crosser.

“I know how much I love shoes, and I bet giving these kids a new pair of shoes will make their day, if not year," he said.

Kelly told me that philanthropic efforts and volunteer opportunities are about so much more for the team. The team recently dropped off nearly 800 pounds of canned food to Harvesters Community Food Network.

As I talked with the head coach, he talked about giving back.

"Let's be honest - [his players are] doing just fine with the shoes on their feet, and so to be able to give back to others is important," Kelly said. "I'm trying to prepare them for the real world, and they understand there are others out there with different kinds of needs,"

As a soccer coach, Kelly can't resist the chance to use sports as a way of describing their effort as an opportunity to out-kick their coverage.

"I have two daughters, and just to be able to provide for them - that I have the means - is a blessing for us and our family," the coach told me. "But there are so many out there that can't. They have to get food on the table because nourishment is more important than shoes. They have to keep the electricity on. They have to pay the cooling bill."

Being able to give back and help those who really need it, coach says, "is such a small thing to do."

Learn how you can make a difference at the Gift of Sole website.