Pasco adult football team plays to honor soldiers
Playing for the love of the game is why most adult amateur players continue to compete in 11-on-11, full-contact football.
For the coaches and players of the West Coast Soldiers, who compete in the 20-team United Football Federation, its deeper than just football.
The Soldiers, founded in the Summer of 2012 by team organizer Ed Meyer, decided on their team name because several of the current players having ties to the military and wanted to play for the respect of armed forces. According to Meyer, the team’s colors are derived from each of the military branches (Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy) and said the team will be making a donation at the end of the season to the Wounded Warrior Project.
“The biggest thing with our team is our respect of everyone who serves in our armed services,” Meyer said. “I wanted to give something back to those who served in the past and currently. I’ve got a tremendous amount of feedback from current people who serve in the military and they love the fact our team is around.”
West Coast has a wide range of players, with an assortment of ages ranging from 19-year-olds just out of high school to 40-plus year old fathers. Some former prep standouts from the west side of Pasco County can be found on the Soldiers roster, including Nick Martino (Ridgewood), Louis Truppi (Hudson), T.J. Blount (Gulf), Lyntin Smith (Gulf), Eric Braithwaite (Mitchell) and John Edington (Hudson).
According to Meyer, another player making a splash is Matt Larkey, who attended Pasco High, but did not play during his high school days. The Soldiers are currently 0-6 on the season, but have made several encouraging strides as the season has progressed.
A 60-40 loss to the Deltona I-4 Ironbacks last Saturday served as a reminder that West Coast is moving in the right direction. West Coast’s next game is Saturday in Tampa against its rival, the Suncoast Cobras.
“I know we’ve had a lot of ups and downs in our first season,” Meyer said. “Something that I see with our team is we’re a tight knit family. We go out on the field and the guys play together and respect each other like brothers.”