As we have highlighted in numerous presentations for our high school age group parents, coaches, and players, nearly 95% of youth sport athletes nationally WILL NOT go on to get a college scholarship, and fewer than 30% will even play in college.  So, what are, or what should be, our long-term hopes for our children participating in youth sports?  Physical development and fitness are certainly key elements.  Confidence and social interaction can be included as well.  One critical element, often overlooked, is INTEGRITY.  The quote below from billionaire businessman Warren Buffet provides insight into the importance of this value.

“We look for three things when we hire people. We look for intelligence, we look for initiative or energy, and we look for integrity. And if they don’t have the latter, the first two will kill you, because if you’re going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb. I mean, you don’t want a spark of energy out of them.”

As one of the Kings Hammer values, it is important that everyone has a better understanding of the word and our role in supporting it with our players, our teams, and our club.

So, what is INTEGRITY?  And what can coaches, parents, and players do to promote and foster it?


  1. the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
    1. Similar: honesty, honor,  good character, principle(s), ethics, morals, virtue, decency, fairness, sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness
  2. the state of being whole and undivided.
    1. Similar: unity, wholeness, cohesion

According to integrity has 7 core characteristics:

  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Generating Trust
  • Pride
  • Responsibility
  • Keeping Promises
  • Helping Others

Click the link to view details from the article: Smart Company-The magnificent seven aspects of integrity

What does Integrity look like?

Every day there are many ways you can act with honesty and integrity at home, on the field, in the classroom, etc. These include:

  • Respecting the privacy of conversations and not engaging in gossip
  • Communicating honestly
  • Taking responsibility for your actions
  • Keep the promises you make
  • Supporting and displaying the club’s values with or without recognition
  • Acknowledging your team when they perform high quality work, win or lose
  • Being trustworthy

(revised from in the Workplace)

Living these qualities is not easy.  There is a constant struggle to “Do what is right.” recognized this struggle in an article on integrity in the workplace. They note that: integrity is the ability to recognize the conflict between personal interests, values, and beliefs and professional responsibilities.

Integrity, or sometimes the lack of integrity, is also something that we cannot hide. As Maria Rattay stated in an article she wrote in 2021 highlighting the tremendous show of sportsmanship and integrity displayed by tennis start Andy Roddick during a match:

Whether we like to believe this or not, our level of integrity is always on show, in the way we speak to our children, in how we respond to others, in the way we deal with situations, and how we behave in the workforce (or in the case of soccer-on the sideline.) Integrity is not something that we take out every now and then and polish it like some silver cutlery when the need arises.

Integrity is YOU, in action!

(Taken from the 2021 article An Example of Incredible Integrity Where the Stakes Were High)

Promoting Integrity

Aristotle was one of the first to note that integrity is not an innate human attribute, it has to be learned and it has to be practiced.  So, who or where do our youth athletes learn this value from? Us, their parents, coaches, as well as their teammates, siblings, and friends. They need to see their parents and their coaches act with integrity. They need to understand what it actually means to treat others with respect and yes, sometimes it even means learning a hard lesson like why honoring a commitment or keeping a promise matters.

Questions to ask about your own integrity –Take stock of your own integrity and moral principles. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How consistently do I follow through with commitments and things I say I will do?
  • Am I transparent enough when communicating?
  • How do I support my team to be their best?
  • Do I show up ready each day and give my best performance?
  • Do I keep myself accountable – including when I make mistakes?
  • Am I responsible?
  • Do I lead by example?
  • Do I show respect for the ideas of others?
  • Do I always give credit where it’s due?
  • When do I show integrity – always or only when someone will notice?

(Revised from, Integrity in the Workplace)

Next step then would be to engage your child or team in a conversation (based on age group) about their integrity.

Coach leading the way

Most people have experienced the discomfort that comes with competing against someone who sacrifices integrity in the name of victory. When it comes to young athletes, promoting integrity should remain at the forefront of every athletic competition. Therefore, a coach should:

  • encourage a team to always play within the rules.
  • Never encourage athletes to perform morally or legally questionable actions during gameplay.
  • Support the calls of referees regardless of which way the calls go
  • Set a positive example for athletes by preserving integrity as the highest priority and recognizing when athletes display integrity
  • By setting a positive example, athletes will learn to respect the game instead of trying to win by sacrificing morals.
  • Encouraging integrity on the field will also translate to positive character development off of the field.

(From 10 Ways Coaches Can Promote Sportsmanship, Ohio University)

As parents and coaches, we cannot ensure whether any of our youth become GREAT soccer players. However, by engaging our players in learning Integrity, model for them what it looks like, and celebrate when it is achieved, we certainly can improve their chances of being GREAT people, capable of success where it really life!

Resources for Parents and Coaches

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 |