Lt. Gen. Richard Clark Credit Soccer and the Air Pressure for Being Match to Serve

Many individuals could not see similarities between enjoying soccer and serving in america Armed Forces, however Lieutenant Common Richard Clark sees many widespread bonds between the 2.

“I inform those that I discovered as a lot about management on the gridiron as I did with all of the navy coaching,” Clark defined. “I believe they go hand-in-hand. You study so much about your self and about teamwork. You study so much about issues it’s important to make use of later, particularly within the navy.”

Clark shares these observations from expertise. The Superintendent of the Air Pressure Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado grew up enjoying soccer in Richmond, Virginia, and he performed it nicely, incomes all-state honors and making all of it the way in which as much as the faculty degree enjoying for the Academy. Even after struggling a knee damage and having to change from linebacker to nostril guard, he thrived. What many noticed as a type of adversity, he managed to show into a chance.

“That was a giant change from linebacker, however I discovered to like that place and had some success as nicely.”

Lt. Gen. Richard Clark giving a speech to football players
courtesy of “The Academy.”

Clark credited soccer for serving to him develop his psychological power, which turned a giant asset for him as he dedicated to a full-time profession within the navy after graduating in 1986. He would see motion in three completely different conflicts – the Gulf Conflict, the Conflict in Afghanistan, and the Iraq Conflict. All through his profession, he would obtain quite a few honors, together with three Distinguished Service Medals and two Bronze Stars, amongst others. He’s most pleased with being alongside the folks he served with. One second that stands out in his reminiscence is main a squadron of B-1 Aviators into fight as a part of a profitable mission whereas commanding the 34th Bomb Squadron. He was the commander, however he additionally noticed himself as a coach of a soccer workforce would.

Clark recalled, “It was a lot like being on an athletic workforce. All of us educated, practiced, and ready ourselves mentally, bodily, emotionally for what was about to occur. I leaned on numerous classes that I discovered in soccer in that have.”

In 2020, President Donald Trump nominated Clark to succeed Jay Silveria because the Superintendent of the Academy, and he started working in that function on Sept. 23, 2020. He was the primary black superintendent within the historical past of the establishment.

“I’ve been extremely lucky,” he mentioned humbly. “I by no means thought in my wildest desires that I might ever be Superintendent, however it’s a privilege to be right here and assist develop our future leaders of character.”

Lt. Gen. Richard Clark motivating soldiers as they perform pushups
courtesy of “The Academy.”

After all of the years of defending freedom on the battlefield and altering lives for the higher as Superintendent, Clark’s navy profession is nearing the end line. His final day of lively obligation comes on Could 31st, however he received’t be settling down into retirement. On June 1st, he’ll take the helm because the Govt Director of the Faculty Soccer Playoff. This transition into his different main ardour will include challenges, however that’s not new to him. He’ll succeed Invoice Hancock, who has served the game nicely, however Clark embraces the chance to make a distinction and positively impression the game in a brand new approach.

“The first component of the job description is choosing the highest groups in faculty soccer for that 12 months and put them on the sector in a playoff format that permits us to play via and decide who the primary workforce is,” he shared. An enormous portion of the job can even contain working with faculties, coaches, commissioners of conferences, and different folks that may serve necessary roles within the course of. Even with the challenges that include the function, he feels the top consequence might be a playoff that Individuals will be pleased with.

“While you actually boil all the way down to it, it’s about scholar athlete success, see the place that success results in, and be pleased with it.”

Clark will see many younger males take the sector with hopes of elevating a nationwide championship trophy, however he hopes many different younger women and men will embrace the alternatives that include service. He has skilled the advantages that include the navy firsthand, and he has seen others profit from it as Superintendent. He’s optimistic about what is feasible for these of the subsequent era that reap the benefits of these alternatives.

“I get at hand the baton off to those younger women and men which might be going to guide our nation. They’re exceptional younger folks, so proficient, passionate, patriotic, and motivated. They’re every thing you’ll need not simply in a navy member however as a human being.”

The 2024 faculty soccer season kicks off in August, with the season’s playoffs happening in December and January. The Nationwide Championship recreation will happen on Jan. 20, 2025 in Atlanta, Georgia.

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