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


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

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

Clark shares these observations from expertise. The Superintendent of the Air Drive Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado grew up taking part in soccer in Richmond, Virginia, and he performed it effectively, incomes all-state honors and making all of it the way in which as much as the school stage taking part in for the Academy. Even after struggling a knee harm 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 possibility.

“That was an enormous change from linebacker, however I realized to like that place and had some success as effectively.”

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

Clark credited soccer for serving to him develop his psychological energy, which grew to become an enormous asset for him as he dedicated to a full-time profession within the army after graduating in 1986. He would see motion in three totally different conflicts – the Gulf Struggle, the Struggle in Afghanistan, and the Iraq Struggle. 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 happy with being alongside the individuals 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 staff would.

Clark recalled, “It was a lot like being on an athletic staff. All of us skilled, practiced, and ready ourselves mentally, bodily, emotionally for what was about to occur. I leaned on lots of classes that I realized 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 position on Sept. 23, 2020. He was the primary black superintendent within the historical past of the establishment.

“I’ve been extremely lucky,” he stated humbly. “I by no means thought in my wildest goals that I’d 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 army profession is nearing the end line. His final day of energetic obligation comes on Could 31st, however he received’t be settling down into retirement. On June 1st, he’ll take the helm because the Government 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 effectively, however Clark embraces the chance to make a distinction and positively influence the game in a brand new means.

“The first component of the job description is choosing the highest groups in faculty soccer for that yr and put them on the sphere in a playoff format that permits us to play by and decide who the primary staff is,” he shared. A giant portion of the job may also contain working with schools, coaches, commissioners of conferences, and different individuals that can serve necessary roles within the course of. Even with the challenges that include the position, he feels the tip outcome can be a playoff that Individuals might be happy with.

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

Clark will see many younger males take the sphere 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 army firsthand, and he has seen others profit from it as Superintendent. He’s optimistic about what is feasible for these of the following era that benefit from these alternatives.

“I get at hand the baton off to those younger women and men which can be going to steer our nation. They’re outstanding younger individuals, so gifted, passionate, patriotic, and motivated. They’re every little thing you’d need not simply in a army 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.

For extra info on the Academy, go to


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:



More like this