Passion for Soccer Helps Set James Mehling on a Career Path at Tri-C
In the fall of 1968, James Mehling enrolled at Tri-C’s Metropolitan Campus to pursue a degree in business administration, and new pursue new opportunities in other areas of his life.
“Choosing Cuyahoga Community College was the best decision for me at the time,” Mehling said. “The education was affordable, and for a shy person, my world expanded with opportunities, friendships and academic choices.”
Eventually, Mehling discovered business administration was not the career for him, so he switched to courses in the humanities. But even as he searched for a career direction, he was seeking something else. Always an avid sports fan and participant, Mehling longed for a chance to play soccer ─ his favorite sport ─ at the collegiate level.
Fortunately for Mehling, that was right when the Metro Campus formed its own soccer team. Dubbed the Cougars, the team took to the pitch in 1969. Mehling was quick to join, and soccer soon became his passion.
“I was one of the few Americans on the team,” he said. “Most of my teammates were from Europe or elsewhere overseas. It was an honor to play with them.”
Mehling played soccer at Tri-C for just one year, but the impact on his life reached far beyond a single season. He credits John M. Carbone, the first Tri-C soccer coach and his College counselor, for guiding him in his career planning.
“John helped me the most academically, made me feel like I was a friend of his,” Mehling said.
He graduated from Tri-C with an associate degree in the humanities, continuing his education at Cleveland State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in social work. At CSU, he continued his involvement in soccer and, in the years since graduating from college, has served Tri-C soccer as a scorekeeper, scoreboard operator and statistician.
In 2017, he helped a friend, James Hofer, write the book Stoker Season: When Soccer Invaded the Neighborhood, about the Cleveland Stokers, a professional soccer team that played in Cleveland during the late 1960s.
Mehling continues to attend Tri-C alumni events and support Tri-C soccer. His advice to new students enrolling at Tri-C is, “If you aren’t sure of your career path, take courses you feel passionate about. You will find affordable tuition and support and encouragement from Tri-C’s faculty, coaches and career counselors.”