For Jeff and Natalie Storment, the new Power Cross football field on West Front Street in Statesville is the result of 15 years of blood, sweat and tears.
“It was a long process, many people invested their hearts and souls in the community, serving the Lord as he was meant to be served,” said Jeff Storment.
But it’s also fun, too. Instead of a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, founders Jeff and Natalie moved to the side as players ran through the tape and onto the new pitch, in a game-day atmosphere. And that’s exactly what they had when the American flag was presented, the national anthem was sung, a flyover took place and hundreds of people gathered to celebrate that Power Cross now has its own home turf.
For young football players, this means they now have a home pitch and don’t have to travel for every practice, and now they can have real home games.
Jeff Storment said the pitch was part of a dream — a literal dream — he and Natalie had years ago to combine Christian ministry and sports. What started in their basement grew into a multi-building facility, which now has a soccer field. Power Cross also has a location in Salisbury. He said that dream he had 15 years ago also included having a roof over the pitch, which he said he hopes Power Cross can do in the future.
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And while paying for a grass pitch isn’t cheap — a cost of around $1 million in most cases — Jeff Storment said that through contributions from donors, prayer, and God, Power Cross was able to continue the vision he and Natalie had over a decade ago.
“What I would tell you is that the Lord has much deeper pockets than any man I know. He can get things done,” Jeff said. told to do, things will be paid for.”
But of course Power Cross is so much more than these facilities they have on campus now, because it’s also a ministry. This dream, the Storments, also included people raising their hands in praise and worship. This is something Jeff wants to see once they install bleachers and other equipment at the facility in the coming months. The football pitch will also have its goal posts delivered on Friday.
Currently, Power Cross claims to train and care for over 350 young men every day at its two locations, while fielding six football teams, over half a dozen baseball teams, one wrestling team and six to eight basketball teams.
In addition to sports training, it also looks after young athletes and also provides meals and school support through its staff and volunteers. Power Cross said it has seen $8,500,000 in scholarships awarded to PC alumni to date, some of whom use the facility during their off-season training.
One of those former members is Jabril Williams, an offensive lineman at Elon University. For players like him, they show the impact Power Cross has had on their lives by helping to hone their abilities on the pitch.
“It pretty much shaped me who I am and where I am today,” Williams said.
Williams also offered a prayer during Tuesday’s festivities. He said he’ll be able to come back and practice on it, but for Power Cross players now, that means more hot bus rides to Mooresville for games and “home” practice.
Khalil Miller started with the program when he was 7 in his early teens and is now Principal of the Salisbury Campus. He said he was amazed at where Power Cross started and where it is now.
“It’s unreal. When I started, we were in a basement,” Miller said. “To have a full court, a full basketball court, they have nothing more to share. They have everything they need now, it’s unreal to see that these boys can train to become elite athletes.
“We are getting to a lot of things that we couldn’t do before. We had to find land, find other teams, now they can come to us.
Follow Ben Gibson on Facebook and Twitter at @BenGibsonSRL