COLUMBIA — While most parents had just one or two kids competing in the Show-Me State 3v3 Soccer Tournament at MU's Stankowski Field over the weekend, Stan Porter had 42.
As head coach of the Hurricanes competitive soccer club in Waynesville, Porter says he views each of his players as an adopted child. He knows its corny, but the retired Army sergeant says he truly believes he can help change the future by molding children. He and his wife even went as far as adopting one of his players.
The Porters took their oldest son John Porter’s best friend Jason Johnson into their home after the couple became aware that the boy was having problems at home.
“He was always at our house anyways,” Porter said. “We just made him our official son and took legal custody of him when he was entering high school.”
Stan Porter says he looks forward to the daily text messages from several of his players reading “Mornin’ Pops!” Over the years, he estimates he has watched well over 60 children develop skills both on and off the field. He has been bringing his kids to compete in the annual fall tournament since its inception in 2001. This year, Porter had seven teams competing in the two-day competition.
“Stan coaches as a service to the community,” Ann Marie Loredo, mother of two boys on the Hurricanes team, said on Saturday. “If it weren’t for Stan, our kids wouldn’t be able to play competitive sports. We follow him wherever he decides to take the kids.”
Stan Porter started coaching soccer when his oldest son’s team needed a volunteer in order to compete. That was 17 years ago, and Stan Porter has continued coaching in the community even after his children left home.
His youngest son Christopher Porter, 19, now attends MU as a freshman. Porter says since all his children have moved away, he has started to pursue his dream of coaching on a college level.
He will miss the Waynesville community that he has been a part of since 1990. The town, located just north of Fort Leonard Wood, has embraced Porter as a coach and local mentor. Many of the children playing for the Hurricanes have parents in the military, and Porter estimates six or seven of his players have parents deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. He enjoys helping to give the kids an outlet for all the stress that comes with having parents in the military.
But Porter is willing to leave the soccer community that he has helped to build to accomplish his dream. He has recently sent out applications to small colleges in Texas, Missouri and Georgia with hopes of finding the perfect job. It’s a tough job market, but Porter has the determination to continue to change children’s lives with soccer.