Like many places in Nashville and Middle Tennessee the tornadoes that hit early Tuesday morning did significant damage to the Wilson United Soccer League (WUSL). WUSL, a non-profit 501c3 organization, is mostly a large youth soccer recreational league. Most weekends during the season see over 1000 kids come to play. These leagues are where kids learn about teamwork, sportsmanship, get exercise and begin to learn the game of soccer. Many move from these types of leagues into youth club soccer which takes things to the next level. They practice and play at the Lebanon Soccer Complex located next to the Lebanon Municipal Airport. There the three regulation sized fields are broken into smaller sizes for the U5 to U14 games in addition to another field which is mainly used as a practice area.
Poppa Smoke, the Godfather Needed Help
The President of WUSL is Jason Moles who many of you know. Affectionately referred to at times as the Godfather of The Roadies or as Poppa Smoke on Twitter. He has been the person in charge of setting off the smoke at Nashville SC games the past two years. The amount of hours he has put into supporting Nashville SC and soccer in general is amazing given it’s not his actual job. So when he put out the call for help yesterday, I figured there would be a strong response and I was right. There had to be well over 100 people cleaning up throughout the morning. The help was needed.
The first task was simple. Move all the displaced goals together so they could be assessed later to see which were salvageable. Next, those with skill began repairing damaged fencing where that could be done. At the same time groups started two major cleanup tasks. First, the fencing that did remain was filled with trash. Mostly roof shingles and insulation, but also some pieces of gutters, glass and metal. Much of this was stuck in the fence and had to be pulled though one piece at a time. While some groups worked on that others began the process of walking the actual fields with trash bags. Those bags along with gloves and waters were donated by Sam’s Club of Hendersonville. Again, shingles and insulation were the main trash that littered the fields. There was also a device that was essentially a magnet on wheels. This was walked up and down the fields to pickup nails or other metal that the tornadoes had left scattered about.
While this was going on the chainsaws began the rev. I believe they started with 3, but may have been down to one by the time this first round of cleanup ended around lunch. There were a lot of fallen trees than had to be cut into pieces and hauled off. There were at least two trucks that were being loaded to take the debris away. A couple pieces of heavy equipment provided by Gardens on Main also helped to move the fallen trees.
Still More to Do
Despite the large number of volunteers not all the work could be done in just one morning. For example, this tree was far too large to be cut down with a normal chainsaw. A professional company will come and do that. As you can see, it was surrounded at taped off however, as the broken limbs at the top could fall at any time. The piles of limbs will take a bit more time to remove and there were still more to cut when I left shortly before noon. That said, the amount of work that got done yesterday was dare I say Nashville Strong. Of course, Lebanon isn’t really Nashville, it’s Middle Tennessee. But that doesn’t really matter. While so many in the Music City are helping cleanup Germantown, Five Points and other areas in East and North Nashville, other surrounding counties got it just as bad like Lebanon and Putnam County. The residential street leading up to the Lebanon Soccer Complex was literally one house after another with roofs that needed repair and tree limbs and debris piled up in the front yard along the road.
Thanks to Those That Helped
These pictures really don’t do justice to number of people and size of piles of debris that were cleaned up. It really was an impressive amount. Hopefully, this Saturday or one very soon the children will be back playing soccer on those fields. Getting back to life as normal. Nashville had such a strong presence due in large part to Moles. He thanked everyone and that along with the comments on his Facebook post show what will be the lasting legacy of the tornadoes. Like the flood, the tragic loss of life and property will be trumped by the community and rebuild that came after.
Perhaps the most impressive part was this was during a workday and the list of those that helped below is long. It’s clear when it comes to helping in the soccer community everyone is “N”.
- Hans Hobson – Executive Director at Tennessee State Soccer Association
- Chris Jones – Senior Director, Fan Engagement for Nashville Soccer Club
- David Wasiolek – President Nashville Soccer Supporters Trust
- Nashville SC SG’s – at least one member from The Assembly, The Roadies, Eastern Front, Goalden Girls and Music City Supporters
- Clarksville Soccer Club
- Hendersonville Soccer Club
- Eagle Express Soccer Club
- Barca Academy
- Tennessee Soccer Club
- Tennessee United Soccer Club
- Nashville United Soccer Academy
- Gallatin Soccer Club
- Stones River FC
- Murfreesboro Soccer Club
- Lipscomb Men’s Soccer
- Glencliff High School Soccer