Jay Adams to be Light of the Valley


WHEELING — When Jay Adams began kicking around, literally, the idea of being involved in the local soccer scene, he didn’t know that 35 years later his name would be synonymous with the sport throughout West Virginia and beyond.

For his efforts in bringing soccer to youth and mentoring so many young lives through it, Adams has been chosen to receive the 2018 Dr. Lee Jones Patron of Youth Award presented at the annual Chambers YMCA Light of the Valley luncheon set for noon Aug. 22 at the White Palace in Wheeling Park.

The guest speaker will be West Virginia University women’s soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. For information regarding tickets and tables, call YMCA Executive Director Adam Shinsky at (304) 242-8086.

“The YMCA is very excited to honor Mr. Adams The YMCA strives to promote healthy living, youth development and social responsibility. With his dedication to youth and their soccer development, Mr. Adams lives out the Y mission. He is very deserving of this award,” Shinsky said.

Adams began his journey across the playing field coaching under-6 soccer in 1983 for the Wheeling Area Soccer Association. He said it was a learn-as-you-go experience that, in 1987, led him to fielding Wheeling’s first travel soccer team, the Wheeling Eagles. That morphed into today’s FC Wheeling United club.

His work has included OVAC soccer from 1990-2004, which saw an expansion of high school soccer. He credits his success with soccer to a strong group of friends that include Jim Regan, Bill Koegler, Dr. Rick Latos and the late Steve Hanning.

Adams’ three sons, Jamie, Jason and Chad, played soccer for the Linsly School and later Princeton University.

A native of Charleston, W.Va., Adams said he knows the value of having a YMCA in a community. He was a regular visitor to the Charleston Y.

“The Y is where I spent a lot of time when I was a kid. It’s where we played basketball and swam in the winter.

“The Y in Wheeling does so many programs. It fills a void for a lot of kids. Where else can you find a place that offers such a broad menu of things to do and a wonderful place to do it?”

Adams said the Light of the Valley recognition is “very special and humbling.”

And he’s still involved in soccer camps and kicking the ball around his yard with his grandchildren who are active in the sport.

“I am so very excited for the people that try to make things better … who take the time to help children learn something new. It’s a team effort and time is important,” Adams added.

Among his recognitions, Adams is a member of the West Virginia Soccer Association Hall of Fame and is recipient of the Kathy Fortunato award for individual community service, presented by the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce.