By Sue Moore
The Sting, a Vicksburg youth soccer club, is observing its 21 first year by combining forces with the Dan Bulley soccer school to boost the level of play for members, according to the organization’s president, Jim Stasik.
“We need to get Sting to the next level of play. Soccer is more than running around kicking a ball. It takes years to develop solid players. This is the first step we are taking to elevate our teams,” Stasik said.
Sting will compete in West Michigan Youth Soccer Association (WMYSA) starting in the fall of 2015.
“This partnership will ensure that local and surrounding area players can develop at rapid rates,” said Dan Bulley. “The local soccer clubs are doing a great job in making strides to keep up to date with the ever-evolving game. The rebranding of this fantastic club, Sting, has come at a good time.”
“Families will enjoy the transition into what I firmly believe will be a highly competitive club at the select and premier levels in the not so distant future,” Bulley said.
Stasik agrees. He sought Bulley out for his expertise in soccer. Bulley operates soccer schools in the Kalamazoo area and has coached the Olivet College men’s team for three years. He was men’s team assistant coach at Western Michigan University for three years. Bulley played on his native England teams as a youth and was granted scholarships to play at West Texas A & M in his freshman year and after his transfer to University of Buffalo, where he set school records in goals and assists.
“The kids just love learning and playing for Coach Bulley,” says Lucas Hillard, one of Sting’s dads. “He is a great motivator while showing them how much fun it is to play soccer.” Stasik has mentored his share of youth soccer, beginning when his daughters Abigail and Sarah took up the sport 12 years ago. He has been president of Sting for eight years and will continue in that role through the merger agreement.
According to Stasik, one of the Sting’s first coaches was John Polasak two decades ago when his own daughters were involved. They went on to letter in soccer in high school and his oldest daughter Katie, was recently elected to the Vicksburg High School of Fame. The Sting originally included players from Vicksburg, Schoolcraft, and Three Rivers. It is hoped that in the future more kids will be attracted back into club play from these areas.