Dreaming, just dreaming of a football culture…

I grew up on the Monongahela River, in a little town of Charleroi, next to the town of Dunlevy, home of the Dunlevy Redbirds. The Dunlevy Redbirds used to compete for the US Amatuer Cup with teams from Heidelberg and Harmarville. Dunlevy was a soccer community thanks to immigrants that came to the Monongahela Valley to mine the coal, work in the steel mills and pave the streets with brick. We had a full size soccer field back in the 1980’s and could run an U-10 and U-12 field across the width of the field. There was always a kickboard painted with the Redbird and another area where we could set up 5v5 field and a basketball/tennis/futsal court that could be used with incandescent lights. Just behind the field at the river end of the pitch were the barges for the coal and oil. On the northern side of the field only 100 yds away was the Anita Garibaldi Club, where you could go for ravioli or gnocchi after your Sunday game. November through April there was always a pick up game for ages 10-50 on the pitch that made it easy for a little lad to get their soccer fill in the offseason or even a lass if she showed up with her dad. I grew up in a town that had a football culture.Kristy Lupori, Dawn Haywood, Tracey Madzey. . . .They would make it on the pitch in Dunlevy. Every Sunday from Halloween until March 1 would be a pick up Sunday. That was a football culture. Every player that showed up would play.

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