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Mar, 2016

NRSA Founder Coach, Colleague and Friend Cleveland Grimes has died.

The volunteer staff and families of North River Soccer Association as well as the greater Chattanooga Soccer family are grieving the loss of one of their own.  Cleveland Grimes, a founding member of NRSA, and longtime supporter and contributor to the growth of soccer in Tennessee passed unexpectedly on March 29th.    The NRSA family lifts up his wife Mary, and their children and extended family in prayer and asks all those who love soccer to do the same.

“Coach Cleveland”, as he was known to many who had participated in the early years of North River Soccer’s recreational soccer programs (including this writer’s children), coached hundreds of “Rugrat” players (players aged 3 and 4) in the early days of the NRSA soccer programs that started a little over 11 years ago in 2004, and as a Board member for the past 11 years had continued to shepherd the Association’s growth from under 100 players to the more than 600 playing today.  His steadfast desire to ensure youth soccer was safe, fun and accessible to everyone was one of his guiding principles, and one that NRSA still carries to this day.

Mark Harrison, President of NRSA and a parent of one of the earliest families to join the NRSA programs said “Anyone who knew Cleveland Grimes will miss his wisdom, guidance, humor and laughter and his steady support of NRSA’s programs, players, coaches and families.  Cleveland and Mary have both been incredible influences and mentors to all four of our boys as well as to hundreds of other kids that have played at NR.  The NRSA family has lost one of its greatest supporters, and I have lost a friend and colleague.”  

Teresa Harrison, past VP at NRSA posted on Facebook, “His welcoming spirit and love for recreational soccer was the driving force behind what you see every day at the complex. He is the one who insisted that the program be based on "Fun and Learning". It was his mantra and will be his legacy. He will forever be missed.”

This writer calls on all those who love soccer to help carry on Cleveland’s legacy; to seek to fill a very large hole created in our community with his passing, ensure NRSA remains the thriving program that carries on the principles Coach Cleveland helped to build.

TN Soccer posted on its website that “Cleveland was a great leader and a man that gave so much of his life to youth soccer, to each of us individually, to our clubs, districts, the State Association, and most importantly to our children in the advancement of the beautiful game.”  [His passing leaves] “an unparalleled legacy to the game we all love.”   “Cleveland touched many lives along the way including those of us that serve on the board and work in the state office.”


Cleveland’s years of loyalty and dedication to soccer in Tennessee at the state level date back to 1998 when he began service as Southeastern District director for 16 years with Tennessee State Soccer Association, (TN Soccer) and for the past year and a half was serving as TN Soccer’s Executive Vice President. 


TSSA Executive Director Hans Hobson was quoted on the TN Soccer website as saying, “Tennessee State Soccer Association has lost an incredible leader, volunteer, and most importantly friend.  Cleveland gave tirelessly of himself to grow soccer in our state over the last 25 years whether in his local community or at the State Board of Director level.”   “His gentle approach to policy changes and conflict resolution was always respected by those who knew him.  He will be deeply missed and he leaves some very large shoes to fill,” said Hobson.


By Alec Badger (NRSA Registrar), with contributing material posted on TN Soccer website.


North River Soccer Association
FIELDS: Cleveland T Grimes Soccer Complex, 4502 N. Access Road Chattanooga TN 37343 --
SEND MAIL TO: 5895 Union Springs Road Chattanooga, Tennessee 37415

Phone: 423-505-9451
Email: [email protected]

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