Parkite, a member of Park City Red Wolves, finds balance in life through soccer
It was a chance encounter, a moment of fate, that completely turned James Stevenson’s life around.
When Stevenson moved to Park City in 2013, he met Bob Martin, director of coaching for Park City Soccer Club. Martin, who knew of Stevenson’s background in soccer, insisted that he, and his wife Lindsey, help coach some of the local club teams.
“I had started to hate soccer, just hated it for a long time,” James said of his time prior to receiving the coaching offer from Martin. “I think I was just burnt out after playing it for so long of my life. … But when Bob wanted me to coach, I slowly started to find my love and passion for it again.”
The rekindling of love with soccer eventually led James on a journey towards the Park City Red Wolves, which he started playing for this spring with a bunch of kids a decade younger than him.
“I know it kind of went dormant in him but it would never completely leave him,” Lindsey said of James’ passion for soccer. “His brother always made sure he watched the Brighton games (James’ favorite team), always keeping soccer in his life — our lives seem to be surrounded by soccer in some way so I knew it was always going to be there.”
With his renewed love of soccer coexisting with the thriving business he started with Lindsey, Cooper’s Luxury Home Collection, James has finally found a balance in life he longed for.
“Of course some days are really long with both of them, but I’ve realized that playing soccer has actually helped me at work more,” James said. “I get my workouts in the mornings, release those endorphins, so when I come into work afterwards, I’m much more focused and just enjoying it.”
For as long as he could remember, soccer was everything to James. He grew up in Brighton, England, idolizing the sport, which eventually brought him to the United States. He captained Long Island University, C.W. Post in New York, leading the school to a conference championship, while meeting Lindsey, who herself captained the women’s team at LIU.
After graduating college and taking up work in the financial world in New York, James stayed with the soccer, playing in city leagues and dabbling in coaching. But slowly over a period of time, what was once his passion in life became the exact opposite.
At around the same time his passion and drive for soccer was dying, so was his focus in finance — so he made a change. He and Lindsey took a chance on a trip to Park City, and with no rhyme or reason besides wanting to live in the mountains, packed their whole life and started anew.
“We said, ‘Why not create a lifestyle around something we love doing?’” Lindsey told The Park Record back in 2013 for an article about their business. “We realized how important people’s vacation time is, and because we are lucky enough to have this as our life, we want people’s vacations here to be exactly what they want since they don’t have as much time here.”
With that, James and Lindsey started Cooper’s Cabin, a concierge business he essentially did “a little bit of everything, I was picking people up from the airport,” according to James. With the new business venture underway, something was still missing for James.
Over the past six years, as Cooper’s Cabin grew into Cooper’s LHC, things changed for James. His drive to play soccer came back as he continued coaching and dabbled in playing for the local mens teams.
Then the Park City Red Wolves came to town, providing James one more chance to see how high of a level he could play at. After getting himself back into soccer shape, James made the team, despite it being predominately a U-23 squad.
“I was told I could play and that I was good enough, but was then told it was a U-23 team. … So I went from super high energy thinking I’m doing this to ‘Oh no’,” James said. “But then I reached out to the coach and he said we are allowed a few players over 23 so I went for it.”
Just a few years ago, James was living a life without soccer and working a job he didn’t like. Now, he is a 32-year-old entrepreneur with a booming business in Park City, the love of his life by his side, and his passion for the beautiful game renewed. And he couldn’t be happier.
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