Segebart’s goal was stopping theirs

Senior Airman Kerry Segebart, 27th Special Operations Medical Support Squadron unit deployment manager, stands in his team uniform wearing a gold medal that came with a victory over the All-Armed Forces Championship tournament last month, May 19, 2016, at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Segebart attended an invitational soccer camp to make the Air Force team this past April, and was among the 18 selected for the team. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

Senior Airman Kerry Segebart, 27th Special Operations Medical Support Squadron unit deployment manager, stands in his team uniform wearing a gold medal that came with a victory over the All-Armed Forces Championship tournament last month, May 19, 2016, at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Segebart attended an invitational soccer camp to make the Air Force team this past April, and was among the 18 selected for the team. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

Members of the Air Force soccer team with their gold medals after winning the 2016 Armed Forces Men’s Soccer Championship at Fort Benning, Ga., May 13, 2016. Air Force prevailed in their rematch against Navy 3-2 on May 13 to capture the gold after a weeklong tournament at Fort Benning. (Courtesy photo/Steven Dinote)

Members of the Air Force soccer team with their gold medals after winning the 2016 Armed Forces Men’s Soccer Championship at Fort Benning, Ga., May 13, 2016. Air Force prevailed in their rematch against Navy 3-2 on May 13 to capture the gold after a weeklong tournament at Fort Benning. (Courtesy photo/Steven Dinote)

(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- The most focal person on the field in many ways is the goalkeeper; they command the direction of the entire game – much like a general officer commands a battlefield. Coincidently, that person is typically also the team’s captain. That goalkeeper needs to be fearless; they need to have the mindset of accepting whatever challenge come their way. The goalkeeper cannot be easily intimidated or afraid of what the game throws at them.

Senior Airman Kerry Segebart, 27th Special Operations Medical Support Squadron unit deployment manager, is just that – fearless; at least when he takes his position on the field.

“When I get out there [the soccer field], I take a look at the other team[s] and I know one thing – I want to defeat them,” Segebart said. “I want to take them down and deny every challenge they make against me.”

“And that is my biggest fear – letting my team down or myself,” he said. “A field player can make 20 mistakes during a game, if I make just one mistake, it results in a goal. The way I see it, my actions directly affect the outcome of the entire game.”

But many would argue that this goalkeeper had little to fear during the recent All-Armed Forces Championship tournament last month, where the All-Air Force men’s soccer team won gold across the Department of Defense.

His love of the game however, started long before this Airman had military aspirations.

“I have pretty much been playing soccer since I could walk, but I started competitively around 6 years old,” Segebart said. “I am a military brat, my dad was in the Air Force while I was growing up, so we moved around quite a bit. By the time we were living in Ohio, I was part of the Olympic Development Program team for the state.”

“I took a little time off from playing while I was in college to focus on my studies, but my love for the game called me back after about a year,” he said. “I was coaching kids in a club team, which is a select program, for a while and was the official goal keeper trainer for the club during that time. By the time I enlisted and arrived here at Cannon, I knew I wanted to pursue Air Force soccer.”

Segebart attended an invitational soccer camp to make the Air Force team this past April. Of the more than 30 Airmen who tried out, he was among the 18 who made the team.

“It was an amazing honor to make the team, and winning gold this year for the Air Force was the most incredible feeling,” Segebart said. “I played in last year’s Defender’s Cup, which was held in September down at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, but this year’s All-Armed Forces Championship tournament victory dwarfed even that.”

But exactly what is it about this game that attracts this particular Airman so much?

“It is the world’s game,” said Segebart. “Countries across the globe come together to play this sport; nations unite over this game and that is beautiful to witness.”

“I also love that anyone can play soccer,” he said. “Whether you are tall, short, light, or built, this sport is for everyone.”

So what does this soccer fanatic do when he is not winning gold for the Air Force team, handling medical group readiness requirements as the UDM for the 27th Special Operations Medical Group or advising his squadron commander as the Unit Fitness Program Manager for the 27th SOMDSS? Let’s just say the answer comes back full-circle to the field.

“I happen to be Cannon’s team coach for our wing team,” Segebart said. “We have two seasons that go back-to-back from about February to November; so we are about mid-season right now. We play a Sunday league that covers the areas of West Texas and Eastern New Mexico.”

“Our team is more of a family than just a bunch of people who play soccer together,” he said. “I met all my original friends through this team sport when I first arrived at this base; rank does not matter when we are out here playing this sport we love together and that makes us a more cohesive unit.”
The team practices Tuesdays and Thursdays on the base field from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekly and according to Segebart anyone is welcome to come out, emphasizing that this is first and foremost a community team.

“I have to say that this past month of my Air Force career has been the absolute highlight so far,” said Segebart. “My experience with the Air Force sports program has been incredible and I would encourage anyone who is interested and has what it takes to get out there and try-out. I know budget constraints are growing across the Air Force, but hopefully this is something that growing interest and support will help continue to elicit funding for; sports bring people together and build camaraderie, which I feel is vitally important to mission success.”

“This year the Air Force will be putting together a CISM, which stands for Conseil International du Sport Militaire, and represents the highest level of military athletic competitiveness, often including Olympians and World Champions,” he said. They will be putting together an All-Armed Forces 18-man team roster to travel and play other nations tournament style and it would be a dream to be invited to represent the Air Force and United States. No matter what lies ahead for me with regard to Air Force sports, words cannot express how appreciative I am for my leadership here allowed me to even participate. I am beyond grateful to have a team who believed in me and my abilities as an Air Commando to step away for a moment and do something like this that matters so much to me!”