October Newsletter 2023

Welcome to the Kings Hammer October Newsletter! This edition features Supplemental Tryouts, Jon Pickup named as Ohio General Manager, Winter Programming, 3v3 Holiday Classic Tournament, and more! If you have a player, coach, or team to be highlighted in future newsletters, please send photos and stories to Each newsletter will be posted on our website as well as our social pages.

Are you or someone you know still looking for a team?

Kings Hammer will be holding Supplemental Tryouts on Thursday, October 26th for our Sycamore Juniors and Premier Programs and Friday, October 27th for our Wilder & Union Juniors and Premier Programs.

  • Sycamore Juniors & Premier Boys & Girls U7(2017)-U14(2010): October 26th | 5:30-6:30pm | Weller Park Field #2
  • Wilder Juniors & Premier Boys & Girls U7(2017)-U14(2010): October 27th | 5-6:15pm | Town & Country Turf #1
  • Union Juniors & Premier Boys & Girls U7(2017)-U14(2010): October 27th | 5:15-6:30pm | Winners Circle Park

For questions regarding our Sycamore program, contact Michael Fry at

For questions regarding out Wilder and Union programs, contact David Shemilt at


Kings Hammer Announces Jon Pickup as the Ohio General Manager

Kings Hammer Soccer Club is excited to announce Jon Pickup as the Kings Hammer Ohio General Manager. He holds a NSCAA Master Coach Diploma, NSCAA Premier Diploma, USSF ‘A’ License, and a USSF National Youth License.

Jon has served as a soccer trainer and director for over 25 years within Columbus, Indiana, and Cincinnati. He has won numerous awards including State, Regional, and National Championships. In that time, he coached within the Kings Hammer Academy Program where his team saw great success making it to the State Finals several years in a row. Most of his players went on to play at the next level, with a few who are currently playing in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Jon also has experience coaching in the United Soccer League (USL), serving as the head coach for the Cincinnati Kings Men’s USL Division 2 team and the Cincinnati Riverhawks Men’s USL Division 1 team for a short period.

“I’d like to thank Kevin, Chris and Paul for bringing me back to the club where I started my coaching career nearly 25 years ago! Over the last several years Kings Hammer has redefined the soccer landscape through player development opportunities and club expansion. As their new Ohio General Manager, I look forward to the opportunity and being a part of the vision and growth of the club moving forward,” said Jon Pickup, Kings Hammer Ohio General Manager

“I am thrilled to announce the hiring of Jon Pickup as Kings Hammer’s Ohio General Manager. Jon’s extensive knowledge and experience in the game, and in particular, the region, make him an excellent fit for this role. He is very well respected in the area, and I am confident that his expertise will have an incredibly positive impact not only on our Ohio programs but on the entire club as well,” said Paul Nicholson, Kings Hammer Midwest Executive Director.

Kings Hammer Winter Programming registration is now open

Kings Hammer is excited to share our upcoming Winter Program offerings. With U4-U19 programming available, there are lots of great options to keep sharp over the winter months. Check out all our offerings below.

Little Lions
Kings Hammer Little Lions is a program offered for new and beginner players, U5-U8, to introduce kids to the game of soccer. Led by Kings Hammer staff, Little Lions sessions provide a player centered approach that focuses on technical fundamentals, age-appropriate fitness, plus develops motor skills, cognitive abilities and peer relationships. Sessions begin November 7th.

Click here for more information & to register for our Winter Little Lions Sessions

Winter Camps
Join us this Holiday season for two great winter camp offerings. Our Winter Skills School (U7-U15) & Goalkeeper camp (U9-U14) is a three day technical camp where field players focus on individual skills such as ball control, dribbling and passing/receiving techniques. Goalkeepers focus on shot-stopping, angle play, footwork and more. These camps will be held at Town & Country in Wilder, KY as well as a new location for this year, FX Performance in Blue Ash, OH!
Our High-School GK Clinic(U15-U19) is a technically focused clinic, providing high-quality training at an intense pace to help you get ready for post holiday training. Each session will focus on footwork & handling, shot-stopping, crossing techniques and more. This camp will be held at Town & Country in Wilder, KY.

All camps will be held December 27th-29th.

Click here for more information & to register for our 2023 Winter Camps


3v3 Holiday Classic Tournament

The COE 3v3 Holiday Classic is a great tournament is to give your team a fun and competitive day of fast-paced soccer. Teams will play outdoors on 3v3 small-sized fields and can work on 1v1 attacking, spacing, passing, and defensive positioning. Grab some friends and form a team. Already have a team for the fall season? Split your team into several 3v3 teams and enjoy a fun day of 3v3 soccer in Cincinnati.

Click here for more information and to register now!

Kings Hammer Healthy Habits Episode 1

Kings Hammer is excited to bring you the first episode of Kings Hammer Healthy Habits presented by OrthoCincy. In this first episode, OrthoCincy experts discuss the topic of nutrition as it relates to athletes.

For more information on the topic of nutrition, check out the following interview with the experts at OrthoCincy:

Q1: How do you ensure athletes stay properly hydrated? 
A:   The best sign to know that you are hydrated is by the color of your urine. Well hydrated players should have a clear or yellow-ish clear fluid. If your urine is dark yellow, you are most likely dehydrated and need water.
Q2: What role do electrolyte drinks play in hydration? 
A: Overall, water should be the main source of hydration. Water is perfect for practice, and for most games. Electrolyte drinks will be best for multi-game weekends or tournaments, where you need additional supplements to stay hydrated. Additionally, in warmer weather, electrolyte drinks are a good choice to help hydration.
Q3: Can you explain the specific dietary needs of soccer players compared to other athletes? 
A: Soccer players require a significant amount of carbohydrates in their diet as they provide the primary source of energy for the muscles during high-intensity running and sprinting. The constant movement and running involved in soccer can deplete glycogen storage levels, so adequate carbohydrate intake is crucial to maintain performance. Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth. Soccer players need a moderate amount of protein to support their training and recovery, but they typically don’t require as much as athletes in sports that involve more intense strength and muscle-building activities…

You can continue reading this article by clicking here!

Blue Chip Juniors

The 2023 Blue Chip Juniors tournament took place October 6th – 8th at the Warren Co Sports Park in Lebanon, OH, and Voice of America Park in West Chester, OH. This year we hosted over 350 teams and 585 games over the 2 day event with teams traveling from across the Midwest and as far west as Texas. We were treated to some great weather, great games, and very competitive championship matches. Thank you to Premier SuperCopa for partnering with the Blue Chip Juniors as one of only 3 qualifying events across the country!

Thank you to all participating teams, coaches, referees, volunteers and staff for making the event such a success!

Our next event will be our Gateway Showcase. Women’s Gateway Showcase will kick off first on November 10th at both Voice of America Park and Warren Co Sports Park. Click here for more information!

October Education: Car Ride Conversations

In last month’s Club Newsletter, we talked about ways to help your child regain or build confidence.  One of the suggested actions was communicating with them to provide a space for them to express their fears and doubts.  This month we continue to focus on our communications with our athletes by looking at our conversations during the car ride to, or from, their practices and games.
*Please note – this article is intended to address normal pre and post activity situations.  If a youth athlete exhibits unhealthy, unsafe, or aggressive behavior before, during, or after a game or practice it should be dealt with by the parent in a more direct and immediate fashion.

Every Athlete is Different

Before diving into the Pre and Post conversations it is important to keep in mind that every athlete is different, even within the same family. Knowing your athlete is an important part of the communication process. Is your child self-motivated, focused, lazy, competitive, intimidated, aggressive? All of these will dictate how much of a pre-game pep talk they need or want. Some kids rise to the occasion every game or practice and don’t need a reminder to focus. Others need a gentle push. Still others will resist any suggestions parents give them on the way to a game. So, choose wisely.

Things you MAY want to talk about on the way to the game or practice

  • THEY LEAD – Let them guide the conversation, both content and timing
  • PLAYER’S VISION – get their view, or thoughts, on what they think will happen at the practice or game.  Ask them to name three ways they can support their team and teammates during the activity.
  • TALK ABOUT GOALS – As previously stated in prior newsletters, setting goals prior to games or practices can help players establish a focus.  Be sure that these are process-based and under the control of the athlete.  Goals, assists, saves, shutouts, and wins ARE NOT under the control of the athlete. Trying a new move, performing a tactic that the coach has worked on, effort, attitude, teamwork, etc. are process related and controllable.
  • POSITIVE MESSAGES – stay away from coaching them but provide supportive messages that reinforce
    • It is OK to be nervous, use that ENERGY
    • Express yourself-in talk and in action
    • Take risks and challenge yourself
    • Mistakes are going to happen, it will be OK
    • Listen to your coach

Click here to continue reading this article!

KHA1 Cincinnati North Girls teams participate in Pink Pumpkin Sale

Our 2011 & 2012 KHA1 Cincinnati North girls teams came together to participate in Pink Ribbon Good’s 7th annual Pink Pumpkin Sale held on October 21st. All the proceeds benefit breast cancer research and support. Way to go, girls!

KH ECNL Teams in St Louis

Earlier this month, 3 of our girls and 3 of our boys ECNL teams traveled to St Louis to take part in the first ECNL event of the season, the ECNL St. Louis Showcase. Teams traveled from across the midwest to take part in the event. Our players were able to showcase their skills and play against some of the best teams in the midwest, as well as spend some time exploring the city.

Kings Hammer President is a part of historic FC Cincinnati season

Congratulations to Kings Hammer President & FC Cincinnati broadcast member Kevin McCloskey as well as his call-mate Tom Gelehrter on being part of a historic FCC season. Earlier this month, Kevin and Tommy took part in the post match celebrations after FCC secured the 2023 Supporters’ Shield.

GK Union Save of the Month

Congratulations to Landon B from KHA1 Cincinnati South B12 & Adeline M from KHA1 Cincinnati North G13 for being named the September GK Union Saves of the Month!
Did you make an incredible save or a game-saving block? We want to see them!
Post your best saves in the Kings Hammer GK Union Facebook group or share on Twitter using the hashtag #KingsHammer. Be sure to share throughout the spring season and YOU could be selected for our Kings Hammer Save of the Month! GK Save of the Month winners will be announced the Friday of the first full week of the following month.
Monthly winners will be posted on the Kings Hammer social pages and on the GK Union page.

KH Alum named Big Ten’s Freshman of the Week

Kings Hammer alum Amanda Schlueter was named Big Ten’s Freshman of the Week earlier this month after helping Ohio State to a 2-1 win over Indiana University. Congratulations, Mandy!

Content Feedback Survey

We want to hear from you! Please take a minute to complete a quick Content Feedback Survey with 9 questions. Your answers will help as we start creating content for the 2023/2024 Season!
Click here to take the survey now!


Past Newsletters

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 ( 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: Ryan Handbury |
Academy South Boys: James Thomas |
Academy South Girls: Chris Black |
Academy Bluegrass Boys: Dan Ensley  |
Academy Bluegrass Girls: Megan Adkins |

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

Who is in charge of hiring coaches?
If you are interested in a coaching opportunity, please fill out the following coaching form –

Program Directors:

Academy North: Ryan Handbury |
Academy South Girls: Chris Black |
Academy South Boys: James Thomas |
Academy Bluegrass Boys: Dan Ensley |
Academy Bluegrass Girls: Megan Adkins |
Premier Xenia: Brent Lewis |
Premier North: Wil Cagle |
Premier Sycamore: Ryan Handbury |
Premier Central: Michael Ratliff |
Premier South: David Shemilt |
Premier Versailles: Brandon Cummons |
Premier Lexington: Fonyam Atanga |