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 Spokane Velocity FC

For Spokane Velocity FC Dads, Father's Day Has a Deep Meaning on and off the Pitch

June 14, 2024 - United Soccer League One (USL1)
Spokane Velocity FC News Release

Father's Day is a time to take a step back from the game of football and celebrate the role dads play in their family's lives. Spokane Velocity FC is home to multiple players and coaches who balance familial duties with performance on the pitch.

"I think being a father changed my mentality a bit," said Spokane Velocity FC team captain Luis Gil. "It's in a way made me more focused and more determined. I think the things I want for my son apply with my mentality on the field that I'm a go-getter and I want to be a winner on and off the field."

Finding a winning formula can be a difficult task for a club's inaugural season, but much like being a father, it starts with building a family, something that Velocity FC has focused on.

"I've been at a lot of clubs where it's been hard, since I had my daughter almost six years ago now, she hasn't been able to come to a lot of games," said USL Spokane head of performance and Velocity FC assistant coach Josh McAllister. "But here, since we're such a family club, it's been really special because after every game I look for her and then she can come see, jump on the field and run around a little bit."

A child running up to their dad after a match for a hug can seem like one of the many little things that makes Spokane feel special, but what separates this club from other professional organizations goes much further than opportunities for father-child bonding.

For the dads on the team, playing and coaching the game of football is more than just a passion, or even lifestyle. It's how they support their families.

"The reason why I'm doing this is for my family to be honest," said Velocity midfielder Andre Lewis.

Lewis lives away from his family - who live in his home country of Jamaica while he plays professionally in the United States. The ability to play football to help his family is something that matters a great amount to the 29-year-old. For him, Father's Day also is a time to honor his own father, who inspired him to become the man he is today.

"As a kid, I tried to do everything my dad did," Lewis said. "My dad is a great, calm and humble person and I think I get that from him. I tried to reciprocate whatever I saw my dad do because for me, he's my idol. I want to walk in his footsteps and be even better for my kid."

Gil also believes in the importance of family. In an interview with The Spokesman-Review in March, he said his decision to sign with the club came down to what it would look like for his family.

"I love them, love them to death, man," Gil told the Spokesman-Review.

Now that they've had time to settle in as the inaugural season has passed its midway point, the Gil family has embraced life in the Lilac City.

"There's a lot of things that we enjoy and things that we can do as a family, which is very important to me, because I feel like that's how we bond," said the veteran midfielder. "It always feels good to get out there, get some fresh air and be together as a family."

Velocity's goalkeepers coach Vito Higgins has had an inspiring path to fatherhood. He was adopted by his stepdad at age 7, and he and his adopted father experienced some ups and downs during Higgins' childhood in Hawaii. In the end, Higgins has used what his dad taught him to inspire his own parenting journey.

"[My dad's] patience and perseverance to support me no matter what I was like and no matter what I did really catapulted our relationship into what's a very close and special one today." Higgins said. "I've been able to use those lessons of life he taught me and reflect back on them to help support and be there for my daughter."

Higgins applies those lessons both on the pitch and off, using what he's learned about treating others in his roles as a coach and a dad.

"What relates to a 6-year-old girl may not relate to 23-year-old men, but it's about keeping the foundation of patience, love, support, kindness, empathy and sympathy." Higgins said. "We communicate with each other and support each other, we hold each other accountable."

For these Spokane Velocity FC dads, the love of football and family intertwines seamlessly, making Father's Day a reminder of their dual roles. As they navigate the demands of the sport and the joys of fatherhood, they continue to inspire both on and off the pitch.

Catch these Velocity Dad's on the pitch and on the sideline at our next match against Lexington SC! Secure your tickets today!

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