The West Michigan Bearings are an elite amateur/semi-professional soccer club based in the Grand Rapids area. Our goal is to provide competitive, high-level soccer in West Michigan, while using that platform for inspiring change in the community.
During the late winter and spring of 2020, many of the original founders were training for the upcoming season with another team in the West Michigan area but due to the COVID-19 pandemic the season was cancelled. Because of funding issues, that team’s inaugural season was postponed for at least one more year. Upon losing our team for the upcoming season and subsequently analyzing why the season failed, we gave a budget a shot. Analyzing the costs associated with creating a semi-pro team, a barebones operation funded by both player and the community could be launched for the first year while gathering community support through the duration of the season.
Thus the West Michigan Bearings were born.
We are player-founded and player-run. Most teams start from the top and build down. We did the opposite. We started with a group of players and are built up.
While it is uncommon to have pay-to-play at a semi-pro level, it is the quickest way to raise money for mandatory costs like league fees, referees, field rental, and jerseys. We plan to grow our community support through the upcoming season with local businesses and organizations in effort to transition the financial burden away from players.
What is a Bearing?
Our crest is a ball bearing. The purpose of a bearing is to facilitate motion. It achieves this purpose in three ways: bearing a load, reducing friction, and properly positioning parts. We hope to play our role in putting this whole city into motion, and we will do this by following the example set by our mascot: the bearing.
Bearing the Load
Players on our team will not simply commit to play, they will also commit to serve at events within the community.
The beautiful game is the conduit here, and we will use the game and our shared passion for it to bring people together.
We will be placing young, passionate adults in contact with organizations that do good in and for the community.
The West Michigan Bearings seek to demonstrate excellence on the soccer field while using the platform of sport to engage and serve the Grand Rapids community.
Sport is Impactful
Sports are a passion for so many people. It gives us heroes through our favorite athletes, mentors through our coaches, and friends in our teammates. The founders of the Bearings reflected on how soccer has influenced their lives, and below are a few examples:
“Soccer is one of the best teachers I ever had. It taught me more about teamwork, perseverance, and discipline than I ever learned in a classroom.”
“It wasn’t until I found myself in a foreign country, surrounded by people I did not know and did not speak the same language as, that I realized the true impact of soccer. Laughing and juggling the ball, knocking it back and forth with kids I’d never met before, I felt at home hundreds of miles away from any landmark I would have recognized.”
“Some of my best relationships have been formed through this game, and so many of the principles that I choose to live by are principles I learned throughout my playing career.”
We also realize that our culture’s love of sports often provides its athletes with larger-than-life status and a platform that we wish to use to positively impact kids and promote a vision of unity, respect, and selflessness. Kids often look up to athletes as role models, so it is critical that athletes recognize the power and influence they have.
We have chosen to partner with the Boys and Girls Club because their mission and vision aligns with ours. The Boys and Girls Club takes a relational approach to enabling and encouraging young people in the community to be successful. We love success. We are chasing success, on and off the field. We want to help others in our community chase success too. And, we share the belief of the Boys and Girls Club that strong relationships are the only way to accomplish this task.
We are still looking for other organization in the Grand Rapids area to partner with. Let us know about the good work you are doing in the community and how we might be able to get involved by connecting with us.