For about 10 months out of the year, Trevor Kilgore likely can be found in one of two places: at work or on a soccer field.
The other two months, he might be anywhere in the world, and his tattoos provide a roadmap.
Kilgore, a student affairs engagement coordinator and academic adviser in the School of Kinesiology, coaches several youth soccer teams in the Brighton and South Lyon areas.
Soccer has been a part of Kilgore’s life since he was a child, and he shares his love and passion for the sport with his 11-year-old daughter, Grayson, whom he has coached for seven years.
“I would like to keep coaching her for as long as she wants to play,” Kilgore said. “Not only do I get to see her more regularly, there’s something fun about getting to coach your own kid even though I tell her that I have to be harder on you than everyone else.
“She knows that it’s not personal, it’s just because she’s the coach’s kid.”
Kilgore started playing soccer while growing up in Missoula, Montana, and while in his 20s and living in Tucson, Arizona, joined an Australian-rules football team for a year. Nine years ago, Kilgore accepted a position as an academic adviser in LSA where he worked for seven years before going to UM-Flint for a year and then to the School of Kinesiology a year ago.
In between, he signed up Grayson for a youth soccer league through the Southeastern Livingston County Recreation Authority in 2016, and when organizers asked for volunteer coaches, he agreed.
“I loved coaching and working with the players and little kids and helping them grow in their excitement for the sport and have fun,” he said. “It sort of just snowballed.”
The snowball grew to coaching four teams just two years later, and this fall he will coach four teams in the Legends FC through the Legacy Sports Center in Brighton and the South Lyon FC.
His two under-10 boys, one under-12 boys and one under-12 girls teams practice at least twice a week and games and tournaments are on the weekends, so it leaves precious little free time for the majority of the year.
“I don’t have much of a life outside of work and soccer,” he said with a laugh.
The fall, winter and spring seasons encompass 10 months, starting in early August with camp for fall leagues and ending in early to mid-June with fall tryouts. The fall and spring outdoor seasons include tournaments and games in Dearborn, Garden City, Monroe and Milan, among others.
In the winter, the practices and competition move indoors at Wild World Sports Center in Ann Arbor or Total Sports Complex in Wixom.
Coaching boys and girls ranging in age from 7 to 12 years old, whose talent, experience and expectations can vary wildly, provides ample challenges but also great rewards.
Kilgore said he likes coaching that age range because players are at a more advanced level than simply running around the field, and are eager to learn the game and develop their skills.
“It’s a lot more tactics and teamwork involved, so you can talk to them about this formation and why we have to move this way,” he said. “It’s not just see ball, chase ball, kick ball. There’s more thinking that’s supposed to go into it.”
The most rewarding side of coaching for Kilgore is seeing the hard work players put in pay off. That’s obviously true for when his daughter does well, but it extends to all his players, including a boy who joined one of his club teams midway through last spring’s season.
“He was still learning the ropes, getting better and better each week. I had seen over about a month things start to click in his mind,” he said. “When he scored his first goal, to see his face light up and to hear the roar, not just from his parents but all the parents, was really exciting.”
Soccer can be an unkind sport as well, and Kilgore has his share of injuries to prove it. His competitive playing days ended about the time he started coaching when he seriously injured his ankle playing in an 18-and-older league in Ann Arbor.
In addition to coaching, he also served as a referee several nights a week before tweaking his knee during a game and taking a break from that.
“As a coach, if we have a scrimmage, I’ll jump on the field and play,” he said. “I do get to play at practice, so I still get to scratch that itch a little bit. The refereeing was a way to get some exercise, whereas when I’m coaching I’m just kind of pacing up and down.”
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Kilgore’s other passion is travel, and he’s sharing that passion with Grayson as well. In 1989, he visited western Europe to tour France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands as part of a marching band.
In high school, he spent six weeks in Australia while his father, a zoology professor, conducted a sabbatical. He studied abroad in China for a year while at the University of Montana, spent eight months in Florence, Italy, conducting research for his dissertation on Catholic protest movements in the 1950s and 1960s, and earlier this year took Grayson on a trip to Hawaii. In between have been many other trips around the country and the world.
To commemorate and memorialize his trips, he designs tattoos representing each adventure. His latest was one on Hawaii that includes Grayson’s name, much to his daughter’s delight.
“I don’t have a tattoo for Michigan or Montana, and those are the places I’ve lived the longest,” he said. “It takes me some time to figure out what I want to represent an experience. I’m slowly filling myself up.
“Tattoos tell the story of a person’s life, and these tell the story of places I’ve been in the world.”