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Local soccer community comes together in support of injured coach

Joe Avento • Mar 18, 2019 at 8:40 PM

The local soccer community is coming together to help one of its own.

Michael Smelser, former soccer coach at Science Hill, suffered severe burns to his lower body during a campfire accident last week. He is at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia, where he has undergone surgery and is facing more.

The teams from Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett, where Smelser went to high school, are joining forces with other soccer organizations to raise money for his family to cover part of his medical expenses.

When those two teams meet Tuesday at Science Hill’s Kermit Tipton Stadium, a table will be set up at the entrance where people can donate money to the family. The junior varsity game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m, followed by the varsity game at 7 p.m. Donations will be accepted the entire time.

In addition, the Alley Kat food truck will be set up from 5-9 p.m. and all proceeds from its sales will go to the Smelsers.

The Johnson City Futball Club, where Smelser coaches, the State of Franklin Adult Soccer group, the Tri-Cities FC Otters and the Tri-Cities United Soccer Club will also be on hand to help raise money.

Smelser, a teacher at Liberty Bell Middle School, also coached one season at David Crockett.

“We’re trying to come together for him,” Science Hill coach David Strickland said. “His family needs our help and we’re trying to do something for them.”

At the game, orders will be taken for T-shirts featuring the words “Smelser Strong” and the JCFC logo with proceeds going to the family.

A GoFundMe page had raised more than $12,000 as of Monday afternoon. To donate to the GoFundMe campaign visit gofundme.com/smelser-strong-family-relief-fund.

For more information, visit @welovecoachsmelser on Facebook.

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