In 2014 Jim Frank reached out to Withrow High School, a public high school located in Cincinnati Ohio to volunteer his time assisting the soccer coaching staff. He specifically chose this high school for its socio-economically disadvantaged student population.
Unbeknownst to Jim, the then Withrow Head Coach for men’s soccer had already started a campaign to even the playing field for the players. Most of the players in the soccer program were and continue to be foreign born kids arriving in the US to escape from war-torn nations, violence-riddled countries, or areas impacted by natural disasters.
The coaches had to adjust player substitution strategies based on shoe sizes shared among similar sized players. So as to not endure this dilemma again, a campaign to reach out for funding and/or shoe donations began. And it was successful, garnering enough to outfit the team with much needed equipment, uniforms and personal gear for each player. The personal gear included PREVIOUSLY WORN shoes.
Initially, the used shoes were perceived as a great gift to solve the substitution issue and to provide players with the necessary equipment to be competitive. However, the used shoes created unanticipated stress on the players’ lower extremities due to the shoes being shaped to the feet and gait of the previous owners/wearers.
Not wanting to endure another season where players became unnecessarily fatigued, the coaches implemented a voluntary off-seasoning conditioning and training program for the players.
So with Jim committing so much time and effort to the program, and seeing commitment from the players, the weakest link to success was no longer player commitment. It was the quality of shoes necessary to endure such commitment from each player.
Want to join us in making a difference? We are raising money to benefit It Starts With the Shoes Inc (www.itstartswiththeshoes.org), and any donation will help make an impact.
Thanks in advance for your contribution to this cause that means so much to us. Cincinnati area high schools students who can not afford to play for their high school teams will benefit from your donations.
Players that have benefited from ISWTS in the past have attended Withrow, Western Hills, Colerain, Mt. Healthy, Ponitz, Princeton, Finneytown, Holmes, and Boone County. They all thank you for your support.