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Fall 2011_Winter 2010_Holiday 8/12/11 12:47 AM Page 11

kids or the parents or the coaches,” says Wallace. “When we go to tournaments, we try to portray a certain character and people want to be a part of that.”

Key to the club’s success has been its association with the Last year, Colquitt County High had three girls sign ath-

letic scholarships to play college soccer, Karlie Brown and Lindsey Causey, who signed with Abraham Baldwin Agri- cultural College, and Jessie Hester, who inked with South Georgia College in Douglas. All were members of Georgia United. Hester claims her scholarship is due in large part to Wal-

lace’s tutelage. “Coach Mike genuinely cares about each one of his players doing the absolute best they can do,” says Hes- ter. “He will take the time to let you know and show you what you are doing right and what you need to work on.” While she only played one season with Wallace, Hester says her game changed almost immediately. “I can react and think much quicker, my foot skills have improved, and I have more confidence in my ability to play at the next level,” says Hester. Still, Wallace says preparing his players for college soccer

is a secondary concern. “Only so many kids are going to play college ball,” says Wallace, who tries to instill in each of his players values of team, work ethic, and character. “We are providing a service that makes young men and women better at life.” Tose values, Wallace says, will stay with the players long aſter they pack away the shin guards. “Tat’s what drives me,” says Wallace. “Tat’s what gets me up every day for work.” Ferrell Tyndall, another of Wallace’s players, agrees that

Wallace has a broader mission than just winning games and helping kids earn scholarships. “He (Wallace) encourages us through God’s word,” says Tyndall. “Tis program encour- ages us all to pursue our dreams in life.” Wallace, however, is quick to divert attention away from himself. “It’s not just the

Moultrie YMCA, a connection first suggested by Marion, a former Y board member who now serves on the Y’s finance and soccer committees. “I am a strong advocate for our Y, so I wanted the Y to be essential to the soccer program,” says Marion, who dismisses the idea that club soccer is elit- ist. “I wanted children of all skill level and socioeconomic level to have [a higher level of] soccer available to them.” Wallace agrees, saying ASG Georgia is not a monolith of race or economics by stressing the diversity of his program. “We have all kinds of kids – blacks, whites, Hispanics,” says Wallace. In fact, ASG Georgia provides scholarships to qualifying

players who want to play competitive soccer but are limited financially. Te club has an endowment foundation that ac- cepts donations and organizes fundraisers. “Tere are al- ways kids out there who want to do it but just can’t,” says Wallace. “We’re always looking for someone out there to help us out.” Te Moultrie Y has been supportive of the club soccer

team since its inception. GUFC used the Y’s 12-acres of soc- cer fields for practices and games. ASG Georgia will still use fields and serve as the Y’s soccer program for kids 13 and over, primarily through ASG’s Division One program. “It’s designed for kids who are not ready to travel or who still need to hone those skills they need to be competitive on a travel team,” says Wallace of the developmental league. “Tey will pay a different price and not have to do as much traveling, mostly to Tomasville and Cairo.” Wallace hopes to stay in the area at least until his sons

graduate from high school. “I’ve got a 10 year old and a seven year old,” says Wallace, who admits some selfish de- sires drive his work with youth. “I want to be a good mentor and coach so that my kids are surrounded by good kids.” And aſter 20 years of roaming the sidelines, Wallace says he continues to grow in the profession, in large part because of his players. “Tey teach me something every day,” says Wal- lace. “Tey teach me how to be a better coach.” u Interested in ASG Georgia? Contact Cyndi Boswell, head

of ASG Georgia’s finance and accounting, at (850) 386-3866 or email Mike Wallace at

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