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Garland and Orndorf win the West Virginia State Cup | Mineral County, West Virginia news and tribune

KEYSER, WV (West Virginia News) – Kieren “Monk” Garland of Keyser and Liam Orndorf of Frankfurt, eighth graders at Keyser and Frankfurt High Schools, respectively, are busy young adults with regards to school and sports. Both are successful academically and on the football field, and their dedication to the game of football, along with the dedication of their family members, is impressive.

Monk, when the summer and autumn season comes, competes in the Frankfurt JCP program. But football for Monk is a year-round activity, and travel and club football occupy his schedule all 12 months.

Locally, Monk competes in tournaments and competitions for the Avid Football Club. However, in addition to this, Garland also plays for the organization FC Alliance, based in Morgantown. This is where the focus is on going beyond what the average player and family does.

Practice takes place in Morgantown and the organization has players from all over West Virginia, including neighboring Ohio, Maryland and Pennsylvania. You have to try, and if you are accepted, you must adhere to a strict training schedule that includes regular trips to Morgantown twice a week, not to mention various tournaments all over the place.

“We train two days a week year round at Pro Performance and Mylan Park in Morgantown. While FC Alliance has all age groups of boys and girls, the team that Monk plays for is the U14 Team of the Year 2008,” explained Aleisha Garland, Monk’s mother.

Time, travel, dedication – everything is above the norm. But for Garland, it’s an activity that involves the whole family: mom, dad, Monk, and older brother Kaden, a current WVU student. And otherwise they wouldn’t have.

“Monk’s father and brother often run in the evenings to Morgantown because I work at night. But all the friendships and people we met through FC Alliance have been a huge benefit,” Garland explained.

According to KH, Monk’s father, “It’s an hour and forty-five minutes drive one way, that’s three and a half hours a day, twice a week, for training. But the progress we’ve seen with Monk at the club level, and not just on record, has been worth it.”

“This is definitely a big investment of time and money,” Aleisha said. “But when it’s something that your child enjoys and they and their family benefit from it so much, it’s worth it. Some people do the same with gymnastics or volleyball, for us it’s football.”

More recently, in terms of competition, the Monk FC Alliance, participating through the U.S. Youth Football Association, has competed in and won the West Virginia State Cup. Having won it, the team will now advance to the regional championships, and if they win there, perhaps to the national ones.

The West Virginia State Cup competition was held in Beckley, West Virginia. This year, West Virginia will also host a regional competition between fields in Barboursville, Charleston and Beckley. 20 teams will take part in the under 14 division, teams will come to Mountain State in New York, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, etc.

These teams will compete for a chance to qualify for the national championships. It was and will be a great experience.

If you ask a Monk if all the time, dedication and travel is worth it, he will answer yes.

According to Monk, “I made a lot of good friends playing club football. Plus education, travel, the opportunity to see different places, it’s all worth it. This gives me the opportunity to play and train football all year round. Mentally, physically and emotionally it has made me a better person.”

Monk is not the only Garland to take the field, older brother Kaden is involved as an official.

“When I first moved to Morgantown for college, I judged here again, but I didn’t have the USSF certification that the West Virginia Association uses. I made some connections through Monk’s team and started officiating some of the league games they played. Someone noticed me and I was offered to referee some tournaments during the year, ”said Kaden.

According to Kaden, “The refling of these tournaments led me to be invited, as one of only 20 judges, to compete in the West Virginia State Cup competition. It was a great experience to see the game from a different perspective and spend so much time with my family.

I see the game as a member of the family and through the eyes of a referee.

Each member of the Garland family has a role to play. Mom and Dad provide travel, time, resources and support. Monk plays his part as the player, and Kaden the judge.

“Monk has been playing since kindergarten, through the JCP league in Frankfurt, where his love for the game began. And along with Monk is Liam Orndorf from Frankfurt, who has traveled a similar path through JCP, Avid, and now also with a club-level team in West Virginia,” Aleisha said.

This brings us to Liam Orndorff, an eighth grader from Frankfurt High School who, like Monk, played for Frankfurt in the JCP League, locally for the Avid Football Club, and is also involved in club football. Liam competes for a separate club-level organization, the West Virginia Football Club based in Charleston, West Virginia.

“Initially they found out about Liam through ODP, the Olympic Development Program. The Charleston coach saw Liam at the tournament and really liked him. In short, he asked him if he would come to play for his club,” said Evan Orndorf, Liam’s father.

Logistically, since Charleston is three and a half hours away, Liam doesn’t so much train or train with the group as he travels to compete in tournaments with them. Liam is on his own.

Once Liam was fully enrolled in the West Virginia Football Club, he was able to participate with his team in the West Virginia State Cup.

Liam’s team also won the West Virginia State Cup and are now moving on to regional competition as well.

As with the garlands, the time, dedication and commitment of the Orndorf family is significant. Like the garlands, Orndorf thinks it’s all worth it.

“We think we want to give him every opportunity we can. We always focus on whether he wants to do it. Do you want to spend four or five hours in the car, play three or four games, and then spend four or five hours driving home? We always let them decide, both boys,” Orndorf explained.

According to Evan, “He wants to do it. He is driven and continues to do well in school. Nothing with football affected anything else. Obviously the travel expenses, especially with gas, have made it more expensive. We started on Memorial Day and played every weekend, five weekends in a row, traveling and playing.”

“He loves it and by default we love it. And like I said, we’re trying to give him every opportunity to get better,” Evan explained.

According to Liam: “I really love this opportunity, the whole experience. I love the team, I love playing football and I love experiencing it all with new kids and new coaches. The West Virginia Football Club definitely improved me, made me a better player and gave me great competition.”

Liam acknowledges the commitment of his parents Evan and Molly.

“They are definitely very dedicated and I am very grateful to them for allowing me to participate in all these tournaments that I participate in,” said Liam.

Monk Garland and Liam Orndorf love football. They played together under the Frankfurt JCP program as well as with Avid Football Club locally and, albeit through separate organizations, on club level teams based in Morgantown and Charleston respectively.

This is a huge responsibility both for them personally and for their parents, in fact for their entire family. However, for the Garlands and Orndorfs, there could be no other way.

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