Blast FC is dedicated to creating young passionate soccer players who truly enjoy and love to play the game of soccer. The Blast will also provide those dedicated and ambitious players the opportunity to have both a college and pro career through professional level training in all aspects of game, including technical, tactical and fitness.
Blast FC, a premier soccer club, was started in 1986 by Stan Clark and Lesh Shkreli. It has been in existence for over 20 years and is presently the longest running soccer club in central Ohio. Lesh Shkreli is the full time Director of Coaching. His passion and enthusiasm for soccer is well known throughout the region. Blast FC now has teams playing in the Midwest Regional League, Buckeye Premier Youth Soccer League, and the Mid-Ohio Select Soccer League. The Blast FC has won over 40 State and Regional Cups, and won First Place in over 80 Tournaments. Our teams have traveled to France, England, Holland, Sweden, Germany, and competed in 24 states. In addition, six players have come through the Blast FC program and had successful professional careers while many others went on to play at Division I, II and III colleges. The Blast FC Club is an active member of the USYSA.
In 2011 Blast FC decided to team up with Darrin Monhollen to give youth soccer players in Pickerington and the surrounding areas the choice to join a premier soccer club.
Lesh Shkreli and Mohamood Razack stated that they were excited to join forces with Darrin and serve the youth soccer community in Pickerington. They value the significant role Darrin has played in the development of soccer in Pickerington and they say they are fortunate to have him join the Blast family.
The Northern Columbus Athletic Association traces its roots back to the summer of 1959 when the North Linden Kiwanis started a summer ball program with 35 teams on six diamonds. In 1966 this group changed its name to the Northern Columbus Athletic Association. By 1970 the softball program grew to include 1500 children. In 1973 the Association purchased 25 acres of land on Clark State Road in Gahanna for construction of ball diamonds. This land was financed through a variety of fundraisers such as donut sales, card parties, and garage sales.
Soccer began modestly in fall 1974. By the spring of 1975 there were 130 boys and girls participating. That Fall, the program grew to 400 children on 33 teams. Eventually the program grew to over 2000 participants and land became a problem. Fields were located throughout the city, problems with crowded fields, parking, and families having games at several locations at the same time led to the need for a new, larger site. The Clark State land was paid off in 1978, and in 1980 was sold to provide a down payment on the current land.
In 1980 this present complex was a sloping field. Activity that first year included clearing, grading, and seeding. Subsequent efforts included additional over seeding, construction of parking lots, and building a storage building.
A major goal was reached in 1984 with the completion of a permanent concession stand with restrooms and storage rooms. Proceeds from the concession stand go directly back into our youth sports programs. The shelter house was built in the Spring of 1991. A substantial donation from Big Bear Stores provided the means to build two dugouts in 1991, and Seven Up has provided funding for two more dugouts that were built in 1993. In 1999 the Association sold approx. 24 acres of land in the ravine on the north side of the property. This land was not usable for our sports facility and was desirable for a housing development.
The complex consists of 53 acres, of which about 50 are usable. The land development to date represents an investment of close to one million dollars. The land was paid off in December of 1989, due almost totally to the fund raising efforts of the children and adults participating in our sports programs.
Our newest addition to our facility is a new entry sign featuring a state of the art message board. This sign was purchased with proceeds from sponsorship through 7-Up and RC Cola Bottling Co. and Riverside Sports Medicine.
The Northern Columbus Athletic Association currently has about 1100 children playing soccer each Spring and Fall, on 66 recreational and 21 select teams, and about 900 youths on 75 recreational involved in our summer softball and baseball program. With room for 21 soccer fields of various sizes, and 17 permanent ball diamonds, we serve athletes from age 3 in instructional leagues, recreational leagues, select/traveling programs, and parents and affiliates in an adult soccer program. In 1997, we began providing an adult softball league as a further service to our members. In 1998, we began an 18 to 20 baseball league for our oldest members.
Beginning In 1980 years, farmland has been transformed into soccer fields and ball diamonds that comprise the current sports complex. Our Association plans continued improvements in the complex and our youth sports programs to make an even more enjoyable experience for our members. These plans will take time and money, of course, but most importantly, the continued dedicated volunteer work that has characterized the Northern Columbus Athletic Association since its inception.
Through the years our organization has grown to be one of the most successful baseball and soccer organizations in Central Ohio. Our baseball and softball programs are one of the few that still offers instructional and recreational programs without the heavy emphasis on select and traveling teams that is found in many other organizations. Our select soccer program has developed a national reputation for outstanding select soccer teams that are routinely in the final rounds of the tournaments and state games that they enter. Some of our teams have even traveled to Europe to play in world tournaments. In 1997, our U-14 girls won such a tournament in Denmark.
One of our most successful annual fundraisers is the Northern Columbus Athletic Association Soccer Classic. This two-day select soccer tournament is held each summer in August and draws teams from around the country. Over the past thirteen years, this tournament has grown from just a few local teams to over 100 of the best select soccer teams in the country. As the reputation of this tournament has grown, so have our corporate sponsors for this event. In 1990, our first sponsor, Donatos Pizza joined as a major program sponsor. The competition at this tournament grows each year and with it the desire by teams far and wide to be selected to participate in this most prestigious of select soccer tournaments. And each year our corporate sponsors are so impressed by our organization and execution of this tournament that they usually sign up to sponsor the tournament the next year before the current tournament is over. This is a real testament to the professionalism with which this tournament is organized and run.