Rock Church School gets an upgrade

Published 6:41 pm Friday, May 1, 2015

The Rock Church Lions pose on a bridge that leads to the new soccer field. It is dedicated to Danny Dillon's grandmothers Sally Dillon and Phyllis Lakeman.

The Rock Church Lions pose on a bridge that leads to the new soccer field. The bridge is dedicated to Danny Dillon’s grandmothers Sally Dillon and Phyllis Lakeman.

In the 25 years that the Rock Church School has been playing soccer on and off, there has always been one thing missing — home field advantage.

The Lions would use local soccer fields in Franklin or just always play away games. This past week, all that changed. The church purchased 60 acres of land 10 years ago and have recently been putting plans into place for an official size soccer field. With the help of the congregation and a number of supporting businesses in the area, the Rock Church Lions played their first “real” home game against the Southampton Academy Raiders. Parents, players, church members and local business people came out for the inaugural game.

Coach Danny Dillon said it was a beautiful day and a beautiful game, which ended in a 3 to 3 tie. Michael Fanjul from Rock was able to put the first goal ever in on the new field for the home team. The United Youth from Rock Church gave out free hot dogs and drinks to all that came. The day was indeed special as Rock made history.

“It truly is a dream come true,” Dillon said. “It was always tough having to go to Paul D. Camp to practice and play games on their fields. We only had two acres of land, so it was not a possibility, but now God has blessed us with more land than we know what to do with!

The Rock Church School Lions pray before their first home match with Southampton Academy.

The Rock Church School Lions pray before their first home match with Southampton Academy.

“It was a great game playing Southampton Academy. We have such a great rivalry with them. I thought how the game ended in a tie was just a perfect ending to a perfect day.”

Coach Dillon plans on using the field to continue the Super Kids Soccer Camps and the Elite 58 soccer camps. They are also starting a Franklin Soccer Club that would enable their travel teams to host games and tournaments with teams from Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Suffolk. The field will also look to host recreational leagues for the community.

“We are excited about building up the level of soccer in this area,” he said. “We have a lot of players with tremendous potential and know that we have collegiate players in the making.”

The field seems to have had a positive impact on the Lions, given the fact that the JV squad has won their last three games against much bigger schools. Last Tuesday they took down Windsor 4-nil, followed by Blessed Sacrament Huguenot 3-2.

Jack Dillon scored the game-winning goal with less than a minute to play. And finally, the team hosted Surry High School and came out on top by a score of 5-1. Rock Church Lions soccer is alive and well and their future seems to be bright.

“I’m so happy for this team,” Dillon said. “When you have a super small school, you are the under dog everytime you take the field. For Rock Lions to take down Public Schools is a testament to these kids and how hard they work.

“I want to see a variety of sports camps run throughout the summer here at Rock. We are looking to develop kids to have incredible sportsmanship, integrity, discipline and a love for God as they pursue their talent level. I’m so blessed that I live in a community that I can spend the rest of my life giving back and raising the next generation. The soccer field is only the beginning, with 60 acres of land we could have a field for every sport and our goal is to shoot for that!”