Gerald Hector welcomes Andre’ Virtue, Wolde Harris and Gregory Simmonds to #ItsEasySon
"This week Gerald Hector welcomes to It's Easy Son three former guests. Mr. Wolde Harris, Mr. Gregory Simmonds, and Mr. Andre Virtue return to speak about the sport of football/soccer. They share their love for the game, how it impacts and changes the lives of young people, and their thoughts on how to lift the sport further specifically on the island nation of Jamaica.
All three perspectives point to how we can make education and development through the "beautiful game" a top priority to teach life skills for greater societal impact around the globe. Listen and hear three former professionals share their thoughts on where we go from here."
A 2017 Hall of Fame inductee student athlete at Clemson University, where he held or still holds several records, Mr. Harris shares his journey from growing up in Jamaica and the influence of his parents, family, coaches and others on his grounding, and love for the game of soccer. His father is Trevor "Jumpy" Harris, another footballing great from Jamaican high school powerhouse, Kingston College. Like father like son is a great meta narrative in this discussion, as "Jumpy" Harris was also inducted in the Hall of Fame for Michigan State University in 2016.
Wolde shares words of inspiration, counsel and reflection as he continues to chart his future after retiring from professional soccer and now serving as an assistant for several coach for several teams, to his current position as Assistant Coach for the Colorado Rapids in February of 2021. A job he cherishes and absolutely enjoys.
This will be yet another great episode where we will hear of a journey that will inspire us all to look beyond where we are currently and dream big for what the future holds.
Before turning professional, Gregory Simmonds was his high school’s (Sherwood High School, Olney, Maryland) first ever All-American athlete. He also still holds the record for goals scored at his alma mater, Howard University. Simmonds began his professional soccer career with the Hershey Wildcats where he scored 35 goals, had 16 assists and was named USL-1 Rookie of the Year in 1999 and Team MVP in 2000. Simmonds also played for D.C. United in the CONCACAF Champions Cup in 1999.
Simmonds also boasts international experience, having played with the Jamaican National Team youth and senior teams (Reggae Boyz) in 1999. Signed by the Miami Fusion in 2001, he tallied 4 goals and 2 assists in league and Open Cup matches. After the Fusion folded in 2001, he signed with Rochester Rhinos in 2002 where he led the team with 9 goals and 6 assists. In 2003, he played in 27 games with the Richmond Kickers. Simmonds played for USL First Division team Charleston Battery for the 2004 and 2005 seasons and was the team’s leading scorer both years with 18 goals and 9 assists. In 2006 joined Virginia Beach Mariners where he was team MVP after leading the team with 9 goals and 5 assist and being named to the league’s ALL STAR TEAM. Simmonds finished his professional career with 75 goals and 37 assists, last playing for the Puerto Rico Islanders. President and Owner of Own Touch Soccer and FutsalRVA. Own Touch Soccer is the only membership-based indoor training program and academy dedicated to the individual performance of youth soccer players. The Own Touch Mentorship Program is club-neutral, and provides youth mentees unlimited access to training and the most advanced training curriculum available. FutsalRVA boasts one of the largest youth futsal leagues and futsal academies in the country. Youth train year-round to develop their skills and participate in tournaments, festivals, in house games and leagues. Past and current Own Touch & FutsalRVA have achieved amazing success securing D1 collegiate scholarships as well as spots on Major League Soccer, United States National Team and international teams.
As Coach and mentor, Andre’ has touched the lives of hundreds of young people, especially boys. As a coach of coaches, he has passed along the philosophy that “we aren’t just coaching the game, but we are inspiring, impacting influencing lives through the game.” From the 3- to 18-year-olds Andre’ knows the influence of his voice, the heavy impact of his words and the assurance of his presence.
He guards and stewards this responsibility with accountability and reverence to the one who gave him this awesome calling. John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”
As a former player at the youth levels; national U-20 Captain, Howard University Football Scholarship Recipient and years of experience playing; coaching he believes in the philosophy that “better people make better players” and has committed himself to serving people into their greatness (players; coaches).
BALLAZ Vison | Transforming individuals, families, communities, the nation and the world through LOVE ;
FOOTBALL"Changing the world one GOAL at a time"
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• Founder, Managing Director | Ballaz International Group Ltd.
• Director of Football, coach | Ballaz Football Academy
• JFF advanced Level II Football Certified Coach
• Former JFF National Grassroots Coordinator
• CONCACAF Next Play Coordinator
• CONCACAF E, D; C License Football Certified Coach
• CONCACAF E, D; C License Coach Educator
• CONCACAF Trainer of Trainer
• Sports development, Leadership; Mentorship | Consultant
• Ordained Sports Minister