FC Cincy supporters, Rhinehaus combine on $1K donation to Withrow HS soccer
The bang of a percussion drum that's usually stationed in Nippert Stadium's Bailey section reverberated around the Withrow High School athletic field on Tuesday night in support of the school's boy's soccer team.
The drum came complete with a complement of songs and chants hollered by a handful of members from the Futbol Club Cincinnati supporters group, Die Innenstadt.
Those supporters brought to the match between Withrow and Dayton-Dunbar High School their trademark energy and witty banter. Then, they helped present a check for $1,000 to the It Starts With The Shoes charity.
It Starts With The Shoes, now three years old, helps supply soccer equipment to area schools, although Withrow's boy's soccer team, comprised of more than 30 refugees from 15 countries, as the main beneficiary.
Die Innenstadt collaborated with noted Over-the-Rhine soccer pub Rhinehaus (119 E. 12th Street) to raise the money.
Rhinehaus, whose co-owner Aaron Kohlhepp is an assistant coach for the Withrow boy's team, donated a portion of its earnings made during FC Cincinnati road-match viewing parties that Die Innenstadt conducted at the establishment.
Tuesday's donation was presented by the members of Die Innenstadt, along with Kohlhepp, whose fellow Withrow assistant coach, Jim Frank, runs the charity with his wife, Mary.
"(Die Innenstadt) approached us first, just wanting to have a charity," Kohlhepp said. "Obviously, It Starts With The Shoes was a perfect fit. Die Innenstadt was, of course, all about it and Jim (Frank) was very happy to accept a donation.
"Early on, most of our kids didn't have shoes. They were trading shin guards early on. We've been able to supply the whole team – boys and girls – with shoes."
The students might not otherwise have the required equipment to play the game. At one point prior to the creation of the charity, about 40 players shared 26 pairs of soccer boots.
Now, there's plenty of equipment to supports Withrow, and it's used to great effect.
Withrow trailed Dunbar, 2-0, at halftime on Tuesday but battled back to earn a 2-2 draw.