Video Produced By Crestline H.S. Student: Max Anatra
After nearly a decade without soccer being played in the community, the Panthers Futbol Club has rejuvenated the sport in Crestline. Founder Jason Hissong created the organization in 2017 and has continued to grow interest throughout North Central Ohio over the last two years.
Panthers FC has both a boy’s and a girl’s program participating in the Ohio North Youth Soccer Association as a traveling team. Hissong says the organization recently implemented the “Little Panthers” program as well, which teaches children ages 3-6 the basic fundamentals of the game.
Athletes involved with the organization come from Ashland, Crawford and Richland County with plans to add more teams in the near future. Hayden Ruby, a high school player from Ashland, says that practices are starting to draw more and more attendees each week as interest in the club spreads amongst area athletes. Hissong says he started with eight players on a U15 girls team which has now grown to have 34 on the roster just two seasons later.
Home games for the Panthers are played at historic Hutson Park, which is a unique draw for players such as Madison’s James Wagner who says it’s cool playing in a “traditional stadium” with “history behind it.” The field, which Hissong says was designed in 1920, offers players an experience that few soccer stadiums in the country can mimic with its historic past.