My testimonial is a detailed story that always amazes me when I reflect on it. It all started when my 8-year-old son, Ryley, was cut from his hometown team’s first academy squad. Wanting something more than a recreational team for him, I searched online for local soccer clubs. That’s when I found Pell City FC on Facebook in June 2021. After sending Coach Bell a message (and about 50 follow-up questions), he invited Ryley to a summer camp where evaluations were conducted. I was immediately impressed by the detailed sessions at the camp and signed Ryley up for all the available slots, though we could only attend the older kids’ sessions due to my work schedule.
Ryley was shy and not fond of physical contact initially. He struggled during his first session with the older kids, getting pushed around the field. However, what stood out was how Coach Bell’s older players, including his daughter, encouraged and helped him daily. This interaction began to shape Ryley’s character.
There was a particularly tough moment during a water break when Ryley wanted to quit. After a conversation with Shane, though, I saw a change in him. He became more resilient, bouncing back after being knocked down.
That summer, I enrolled him in every session, hoping to prepare him for his first academy season. It was a learning process for me too, as I realized the importance of patience and trust in Coach Bell’s process. Our first academy game was tough; we lost 14-0 against Vestavia. Despite my initial discouragement, Shane’s email after the game put things into perspective, and I committed fully to the training.
Watching Ryley transform from a shy 8-year-old into a confident leader on the field has been remarkable. His technical skills often receive praise at camps. After four seasons and numerous training sessions under Coach Shane, Ryley not only made the HVS Pre-MLSNEXT team but also became a starter and a leader. A coach from another top team even noted Ryley’s leadership during a guest practice session.
Coach Bell continues to check in on Ryley, who has developed close friendships since his first game. We still attend many of Pell City FC’s trainings and camps, confident in the effectiveness of Shane’s system. If your child loves the game and you can offer patience and trust, Pell City FC is the ideal place.
– Tommy Morris