When The Enemy Cares; Sports Bind Us
By Stephanie Malench
On February 16, two Collinsville High School teachers received the shock of their lives. Jacob Post and his wife Stephanie Biondi received the devastating news that their five-year old daughter Lela has B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
As friends, family, and the Kahok community (Post was one of the co-founders of Kahok Strong) rallied to support the family, one group decided to show Post and his family how much they think about him: the Louligans.
For the past 20 years, Post has also worked as a referee at the St. Charles Lions Professional Development Soccer League games, St. Louis FC games, and the Fire and Ice Women’s Soccer Academy. In the beginning of his career, Post served as an assistant referee (AR2) on the fan side of the stadium.
The Louligans soccer fan club has been attending high level amateur games across the St. Louis region together for over 10 years and were instrumental in helping bring professional soccer to St. Louis with the Major League Soccer St. Louis CITY Soccer Club in 2023.
One of the things they are known for is heckling the referees closest to them. If Post was working, it seemed the Louligans were always there, making some kind of comments about a call they did not like.
The Louligans nickname for Post is “Lino”, short for linesman, coined by Louligan Matt Bird. Bird said Post “is every bit a fixture to the sport of soccer as the fans and we defend the people who defend the sport”.
The other thing the Louligans have been doing is helping the community through its Charity Du Jour program since 2014 with such events as their annual “Winter Classic” to raise meals for the St. Louis Area Foodbank. This time, the Louligan family answered the call to help their own.
As of this article, the Louligans donated over $1500 to the Go Fund Me account set up for Lela (https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-lela-fight-cancer).
Post said the Louligan’s actions show how important sports are and how everyone involved with sports cares about their fans, players, and officiating crews. “Sports bridges the gap for people. At the end of the day we see each other as human beings. The money isn’t the thing that is encouraging. Even the people who hate you on the field”, Post commented “care about your family”.
Being on the other side of the charity experience from founding Kahok Strong and giving to those in need for many years has been a humbling experience for Post who said the group is deeply seeded in a “we take care of our own” mindset.