COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Back when Asher Quave-Robinson pursuing a pro soccer career, there was no local soccer club for guys like him to continue to live out their dreams on the pitch while representing the community.
Now, those days are over. Quave-Robinson, a former Dreher High soccer standout, now coaches Soda City FC. On Sunday, he watched as more than 100 players came out to two different sessions at Columbia International University to compete for a chance to play for the semi-pro United Premier Soccer League team.
“I’m just so thankful to be a part of it and be able to give players a better opportunity where there is soccer close by to them,” Quave-Robinson said. “There are coaches and staff members who want to help them progress in their career.”
Quave-Robinson said the team has partnered with several clubs in different countries, including Canada and Denmark, to create more opportunities for players who want to follow their dreams of playing soccer. While doing so, Soda City FC is highly focused on being engaged with the community to inspire future soccer players in the community.
“What it does is it gives the players growing up in the area now the opportunity to look ahead and say, ‘When I’m done playing at my local high school, when I’m done playing at my college, I can still have the opportunity to represent Columbia on a bigger level and still compete at a high level,’ which is what we want to do.” said Soda City FC General Manager Andrew Richardson. “So, having 100 guys here today is outstanding for what our organization has been able to do so far, but it also speaks to the potential for what it may be able to do for soccer in Columbia as a whole.”
Although the long-term goal for the team is to be the “community’s club,” according to Richardson, the franchise still looks at how they can be the best team it can be. Being able to do that means finding some of the best players to join Soda City FC and add to the nucleus that already exists.
“There’s a lot of talent out here,” Richardson said. “Fans will be able to see our roster and there will be a lot of familiar names from high school, from club, from college, but it’ll be difficult,” said Richardson when asked about selecting the best talent. “We want to be thorough in our process. We want to make sure we’re giving a fair evaluation where guys feel like, ‘Well, I saw that guy’s name show up. I don’t have of getting him.’ We want them to show up and feel like, when they walk away from today, they were given a fair opportunity to compete and they’re going to get an opportunity to represent themselves to the best of their ability.”
Soda City opens play in March.