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Kings Hammer Announces New Leadership and Expansion in Central Kentucky

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Kings Hammer is excited to announce new leadership and expansion at Kings Hammer Bluegrass. This new leadership team will create a complete player pathway for players located in Versailles, Lexington, and surrounding counties in Central Kentucky. The team will consist of James Wray, Dan Ensley, Brandon Cummons, and Fonyam Atanga.

James Wray will continue to lead the Kings Hammer Bluegrass events: Volta Cup Lexington, Triple Crown Cup, and Battle in the Bluegrass. Kings Hammer is proud to be the only club in Central Kentucky that offers convenient event opportunities and James will look to expand and improve the event experience for all families attending Kings Hammer Bluegrass events. In addition to leading events, James will assume the position of Operations Director for Kings Hammer Bluegrass. In this new role, he will be responsible for club operations for all Kings Hammer Bluegrass programs with a focus on club growth and development, scheduling, and facility relationships. James will work to help engage and grow the sport within the local communities of Versailles and Lexington. He holds a USSF B License and has coached for over 15 years at various levels, including club, high school, and ODP.  James has coached in various leagues throughout the region, including the Kentucky Premier League, Great Lakes Conference and The National League.  He recently took over as the Head Boys Coach at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington, winning the 2021 KHSAA State Championship in his second season. 

Dan Ensley will be leading the Academy Program for boys and girls which will focus on serving the highest-level U11-U19 teams in Versailles and Lexington. Dan will also serve on the Kings Hammer Technical Committee and will be responsible for sharing and helping implement the Kings Hammer Game Model and curriculum in Central Kentucky. Dan Ensley has 25 years of soccer experience and came to Kings Hammer Bluegrass from Charlottesville, Virginia, where he served as the Director of Coaching and Player Development with Soccer Organization Charlottesville Area (SOCA). Ensley is Premier Diploma certified by United Soccer Coaches while holding a USSF A License.

Brandon Cummons will be leading the Premier Program in Versailles, Kentucky that will serve U8-U19 players located in and around the Versailles community. Brandon has over 15 years of soccer experience and spent the past 10 years as a staff coach and Director of Coaching at Bluegrass SC (now Kings Hammer Bluegrass). Cummons currently holds a USSF C License and has experience coaching at the club and ODP state levels. He also has experience in the KHSAA High School ranks coaching at East Jessamine High School and is the current girls coach at Woodford County Yellow Jackets.

Fonyam Atanga will be leading the new Premier Program in Lexington, Kentucky that will serve U8-U19 players located in and around the Lexington community.  Fonyam has over 15 years of soccer experience coaching locally in the Lexington area across all levels of play from college, high school, ODP, and club (Lexington FC and Bluegrass SC). He is currently the high school coach for the Woodford County Yellow Jackets Boys soccer program. He has also served as a member of the KY Youth Soccer coaching education team and a current member of the WYSA Board of Directors. Fonyam holds a US Youth Soccer National Youth License in addition to his US Soccer Federation A License.

The Premier Programs in Versailles and Lexington will be designed to provide players with the opportunity to train and prepare for the journey to our Kings Hammer Bluegrass Academy Program within their local communities. The Premier Programs also provide the opportunity for players that have other interests outside of soccer. These programs are designed to be flexible, convenient, and affordable to players of all levels.

“We are extremely excited about the leadership team we have been able to create in the Bluegrass region. Not only do we have some of the strongest soccer leaders in the area driving the program forward, but we also have a tried-and-true player pathway that is consistent across the club and provides for all levels and ages of players,” said Paul Nicholson, Kings Hammer Technical Director.

Dave McIver, Kings Hammer Vice President of Operations, added, “We are thrilled to continue to grow the Kings Hammer Bluegrass brand through added programs and events in the Versailles and Lexington communities. We have always had the goal and ambition to provide convenient program opportunities for players of all levels in Central Kentucky and this new leadership team provides greater opportunity for growth and development of Kings Hammer Bluegrass players, coaches and staff.”

Visit the Kings Hammer website now to view the complete player pathway offered to families and be sure to check back for more exciting news to come!

Tryout FAQ’s

How do I register for tryouts?
ALL soccer-athletes MUST COMPLETE the tryout registration online before participating in the tryout process. Click here to register now!

*Please make sure that you register online at least 24 hours in advance to ensure that the soccer athlete is in the system and we have your information to notify you after the tryout process.  There is a Registration Steps document on the Tryouts page that will walk you through the process. Each soccer athlete should attend both tryout days if possible. If you are unable to attend both days please reach out to the Program Director listed below.

Birth Years for the 2022/2023 Season
For the 2022/2023 season, Kings Hammer will follow U.S Youth Soccer’s guidelines and will organize its teams by birth year:

*Interested players must register to try out for their birth year.

Can my child play up an age group?
Any player playing up will be at the discretion of their respective director. All players need to register and attend the tryout for their correct age group.

What should I wear/bring to tryouts?
Please come prepared with a fully inflated soccer ball, proper footwear, shin guards, and water. Each prospective soccer-athlete will receive one free Kings Hammer Soccer Club tryout t-shirt with a tryout identification number on the back of the t-shirt.  Each prospective player will be identified by the identification number throughout the process and MUST wear this t-shirt at each tryout session for the 2022/2023 soccer year.

We will not be able to attend tryouts or are new to the area and missed tryouts. Is there a process in place to allow for an alternate tryout?
Yes! If you are not able to attend tryouts or missed the tryout dates, please register and then contact the Director for the Program/Age Group you wish to tryout for so that arrangements can be made. We also hold supplemental tryouts throughout the year. Roster openings may be limited after the initial tryout period.

What are the differences between Academy and Premier?
Our Academy provides a highly competitive environment for higher-level soccer athletes. This program provides those athletes with the best local training offered by our qualified and professional staff. Our Academy teams play at the highest possible level providing showcase opportunities to College, Professional, and National level programs.

The Premier Program is a community-based program. The Premier Program provides the opportunity for players to play other sports or have other interests outside of soccer. This program is designed to be flexible, convenient, and affordable.

Can I try out for multiple programs?
We encourage anyone who wants to tryout for all levels to do so. Current KHSC players can ask their coach/director for guidance if they are unsure about which program to tryout for. You will need to register for each tryout separately.

If I tryout for a program and don’t make it, can I try out for another program?
Yes. If you don’t make an Academy team, we strongly encourage you to tryout for a Premier team, attending tryouts for at least one day.

If you don’t make a Premier team, the Classic Program may be an option. Contact Michelle Okumura (michelle@kingshammer.com) if you’d like to pursue this option.

Will there be more than one team in each age group?
Yes, when possible, there will be more than one team per age group, per program. It all depends on the number of players at tryouts and their skill level.

If my child doesn’t make the top team, can they move up during the year?
Yes, there may be opportunities to move up throughout the year as long as the coach/director feels it is in the best interest of the player’s development. There may also be opportunities to guest play across all levels.

What can I expect after tryouts?
After tryouts you can expect communication from the club in the form of an email.  (Please double-check that your email is correct in the PlayMetrics system, this is the email we use) This will either be an acceptance email, offering your child a position on a team, or an email letting you know that they should tryout for a different program. Players who are offered positions on a team may also receive a phone call from their coach. All communication will come within 24-48 hours of the end of the last tryout. You will then have 24 hours to either accept or decline your email before your spot is offered to another child.

What are the next steps if my child makes a team?

  1. If you are new to the club, you will receive more information regarding your uniform ordering in your confirmation email.
  2. If you are part of the Academy or Premier Programs, you will receive the link to Demosphere to register your child in the state system in your confirmation email as well.

How long is the season?

  • Academy
    • U11-U14: August-November, January-May (possible post-season in June)
    • U15-U19: November-May
  • Premier
    • U7-U14: August-October, March-May
    • U15-U19: November-December, March-May

My child is in middle school but plays on a U15 team. Will there be a fall U15 program for trapped players?
Yes, we will offer a program for trapped 8th graders for the fall season depending on interest. The program will run from August to October and is open to players that are currently in the 8th grade that will be playing on a U15 team starting in November 2022. Questions please contact:

Academy North: Lindsay Basalyga | lindsay@kingshammer.com
Academy South Boys: James Thomas | james@kingshammer.com
Academy South Girls: Chris Black | chris@kingshammer.com
Academy Bluegrass Boys: Dan Ensley  | dan@kingshammer.com
Academy Bluegrass Girls: Megan Adkins | megan@kingshammer.com

Can a team come to the club and join as a team?
Yes! The team can join the Classic Program. For more information please reach out to Michelle Okumura at michelle@kingshammer.com.

Who is in charge of hiring coaches?
If you are interested in a coaching opportunity, please fill out the following coaching form – https://kingshammer.com/interested-in-coaching/

Program Directors:

Academy North: Lindsay Basalyga | lindsay@kingshammer.com
Academy South Girls: Chris Black | chris@kingshammer.com
Academy South Boys: James Thomas | james@kingshammer.com
Academy Bluegrass Boys: Dan Ensley | dan@kingshammer.com
Academy Bluegrass Girls: Megan Adkins | megan@kingshammer.com
Premier Xenia: Brent Lewis | brent@kingshammer.com
Premier North: Wil Cagle | wil@kingshammer.com
Premier Sycamore: Ryan Handbury | ryan@kingshammer.com
Premier Central: Michael Ratliff | michaelr@kingshammer.com
Premier South: David Shemilt | dshemilt@kingshammer.com
Premier Versailles: Brandon Cummons | brandon@kingshammer.com
Premier Lexington: Fonyam Atanga | fonyam@kignshammer.com