Soccer Reflections As Shared By Andy Hunnicutt

“Another season of soccer has finished yet again. I love the game and the lessons it can teach if you are willing to learn from it. It takes selfless teamwork, dedication, athleticism, and patience to develop a team that can be successful in the win/loss column. Even though disappointment comes from losing and elation from winning, there are lessons to learn from every contest and practice regardless of the outcome. A soccer match is an athletic contest, nothing more, and I feel that the Hauser Jets this year were competitive in every match. That is a huge accomplishment.

“I would like to thank my players who worked so hard throughout the season, overcoming the unknowns of COVID-19, working through injuries, being asked to play in unfamiliar positions, maintaining a good work ethic, and striving as individuals to become better teammates to each other while representing Hauser with class & dignity. I am proud of each and every one of you.

“I would like to thank the parents and fans who loudly supported this team all season. The players knew you were there and appreciated everything you did for us.

“I would especially like to thank Lee Hamilton and Kameron Lawson for being my assistants this year. Their dedication, skill, and abilities working with the players, coaching and demonstrating different aspects of the game was very enjoyable to watch and experience. I applaud, recognize, and appreciate all of your efforts! Go Jets!!!”

I noticed these wonderful soccer reflections by Andy Hunnicutt on the HSJ Online website under Hauser Scoreboard. Mike Asher and HSJ team together to make this available to our readers. I know Andy and his family, and his words sparked a phone call and a discussion about what brought him to Hope and to soccer.

Andy and his wife moved to Columbus in 1993 where Melinda has been in the cardiology department of Columbus Regional Health since. They both grew up on a farm and graduated from New Palestine High School. Thus, they chose a farm in the Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corporation where their four children would attend: Abby, Amanda, Becca, and Jake. A niece, Ashley Knotts, also lived with them and attended Hauser for a short period as well as seven foreign exchange students.

For 20 years, Andy was quite involved in many major school constructions projects, some place between 750-1,000 schools. His construction skills have been put to use at Hope United Methodist Church where he has been a trustee for around 16 years, FRHC while being on the school board for 8 and 1/2 years, and the soccer field while serving as an assistant or head coach for many years.

Andy actually played on an excellent soccer team while in the army in the late '70s. Like most athletes, Andy also excelled in other sports like wrestling and volleyball. Years ago, I asked him to play on a coed volleyball team due to being aware of his excellent skills in that sport. When in high school, there were not many opportunities for boys to participate in volleyball in Indiana; so, Andy helped with the girls and consequently improved too. (My understanding of soccer and my skills improved when presenting the game in the old Hope Elementary gym to my students. Oh, the memories!)

His first soccer coaching experience was at Fort Hood, Texas in 1979 with a team of young teenagers. Andy recalls coaching a Columbus Express team in the early 2000s that had 5 or 6 players from Hauser and felt it would be the perfect time for Hauser to start a program. In 2004, he was instrumental in approaching the school board about the possibilities, creating the field, buying goals, painting and maintaining the field, and has ever since.

Andy became Hauser's head coach in 2010 after assisting for several years. Hauser teams have won several local soccer tournaments. They won the conference in 2018 and 2019, and Andy was named Coach of The Year in 2019. Eight times, a Hauser team has made it to the finals in the sectional only to not win, often losing in a very close contest. Of course, he will be celebrating with all the coaches, players, and fans over the years when it does happen. However, as evident in his words, Andy understands that there is much more to the sport than winning a sectional. At the same time, he is even more confident it will now that we have a youth program, and Andy expressed thanks for Polly Trotter's leadership. (A former colleague of mine, Jim Stultz, also loved the game and presented it on the grounds of the old Hope Elementary many years ago to younger children and would be very proud of our present program.)

Andy has been extremely involved with the Special Olympics in this area for 12 years while receiving several awards including recently being named 2020 Family of the Year, their second time. I suspect what he has gained from those experiences has been very influential in his coaching philosophy at Hauser. Andy is the Assistant County Coordinator of Special Olympics for three counties: Bartholomew, Brown, and Jennings. He is also the head coach for three sports: basketball, bowling, and track and field. It is his goal to add soccer on a local level. Their daughter, Becca, has excelled in several events over the years. He is proud of her as well as all the other participants.

Andy stated, “Special Olympics is a great organization, and it is an experience filled with smiles and winners.”

Andy, we can't possibly express enough thanks for all of your time and effort in serving the community through a variety of ways, in particular in the great sport, soccer.

It is now time for me to pull out the inspiring soccer movie, “Pele,” and watch it again, possibly even the entertaining movie, “The Big Green.” And, I will definitely tune into the United States women's national team, presently ranked first, as well as the men's national team as they compete with other teams in the world.