Calling all friends and family of Barry Redmond and Coach Ben Sohrabi!
Calling all alumni of John Overton High School!
Calling all Soccer fans past, present and future!
I am reaching out to you on behalf of John Overton Administration and Alumni.
We need your help in honoring two individuals
who have been the cornerstone of building the John Overton Soccer program, Coach Ben Sohrabi and Barry Redmond.
We are seeking to raise $6,500.00 to purchase a scoreboard for the upper soccer field. With your help, we hope to dedicate this in their honor with a ceremony and reunion event on July 28th 2018 (event details to come).
Barry Redmond met Coach Sohrabi in the late 80’s when I joined the Overton girls’ soccer team as a high school freshman. At a glance, some would think them an unlikely pair; nevertheless, through their common ground and love for the game, they developed an enduring friendship. Together, Redmond and Sohrabi began the steps to build the upper field dedicated solely to soccer. The two of them could often be found working on the field removing large rocks and debris, leveling the pitch, distributing grass to cover what then looked like a field of mud. They would organize others to work on the field, often having players to help remove the rocks. I hated doing this, what seemed an endless task, knowing all the while that I would never play on the field.
I realize now that Coach and my dad were not building a field for their own use, nor even for mine, but were doing it for players who had not yet marched through the doors of John Overton High. They were doing it for the parents of these students, who could cheer on their children as they advanced towards the goal. They were doing it for the alumni, whose own children now play on these fields. They were doing it for so many generations of players and parents to come.
Coach Ben Sohrabi embodies the love and passion for this renowned sport, and his love was contagious. He coached over 60 teams of both girls and boys while at Overton. He received many accolades, including Mid-State Soccer Coach of the Year. But my memories of him run deeper than any award or championship could indicate.
He was not the type of coach who directed from the sidelines, instead always running around kicking the ball with us. He had so many funny sayings –Sohrabi-isms we called them—that were an integral part of his coaching style. Although I did not know it at the time, these Sohrabi-isms were teaching us things about respect, teamwork, empowerment, and sportsmanship. If he ever spotted one of us sitting on our soccer ball, he would gently admonish us by saying “you wouldn’t sit on your violin, would you?” There were so many Sohrabi-isms and I am sure they morphed and grew from generation to generation, but my favorite was this: "If You Conceive, Then You Believe, Then You Can Achieve."
The power of these words—Conceive, Believe, Achieve—probably sticks with me the most, not only for their encouraging wisdom, but because they remind me most of my dad. Barry Redmond was an “idea guy”; he would have a vision, figure out how to get others to believe in it, until it was achieved.
He became the ultimate spokesman, a true soccer booster. He volunteered as the soccer announcer and became the voice of local high school games and state tournaments. He helped to organize a soccer invitational known as the Challenge Cup. Before the widespread use of travel teams, this tournament was designed to bring together the most distinguished teams throughout the state. He was then inspired to start a ranking of high school soccer teams and players in Tennessee, later partnered to originate rankings for soccer players throughout the nation. Redmond continued to support Overton soccer and other high school soccer programs until his death in 2001.
Since 1985, John Overton Soccer has had many individuals—coaches, players, parents, friends—that have helped build and support this legacy. But, without Ben Sohrabi and Barry Redmond, it is clear that Overton Soccer would not be what it is today. Their friendship and dedication to the sport has benefitted numerous people, many of whom may not know the history of their legacy.
When thinking about the dream shared by Coach Sohrabi and Barron Redmond, I can’t help but be reminded of the film Field of Dreams whose promotional tagline was “if you believe in the impossible, the incredible will come true.” These two generous men had a vision for John Overton Soccer, and even though my father is not here to see the fruits of his labor, I know that through your charitable donations, we honor his and Coach Sohrabi’s legacy; that will shine in bright lights on the field they dreamed of many years ago, and for many years to come.
Please Donate to this legacy.
For as Coach Sohrabi says: Conceive. Believe. Achieve.