For Jon Donahue, soccer is as much a language as it is a sport.
Donahue, vice president, private banking, at Racine-based Johnson Bank, has been kicking a soccer ball nearly nonstop since about age five. Though he played other sports while growing up on the south side of Milwaukee, he said soccer was always his “go-to sport.”
Among those he learned to play with were young refugees from Serbia, some of whom could barely speak English during their early days in Milwaukee. For Donahue and his teammates, soccer existed as a common language.
“We just automatically clicked,” Donahue said of their friendship and shared passion for the sport, adding that he remains friends with his childhood teammates today and still plays beside them.
Donahue’s current soccer schedule brings him to the field nearly every weeknight as he plays in men’s and co-ed indoor and outdoor leagues, as well as futsal – in which teams compete on an indoor field with a smaller ball.
His time on the field is divided among three teams – Arsenal, United Serbians and F.C. Radmila – who play at fields across the area.
While Donahue’s teams hardly get any practice time and compete without a coach, he said that after playing for so long together, his teammates all know exactly how one another moves on the field and work extremely hard for each other.
No one carries the team, he said.