High-flying Crouch's find joys in sports and family

Roseville's Paige Crouch plays soccer while her father defends our country
By: Brett Ransford, Press Tribune Correspondent
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Chief Warrant Officer Thaddeus Crouch will take some time away from his duties in Afghanistan today to root for the Roseville High girls soccer team. Black Hawk helicopter maintenance pilot is Crouch’s job, but following his kids’ athletic exploits is his true passion. Crouch’s daughter Paige is one of six freshmen on the Tiger varsity, but she is the only one with a father currently serving in the military. Thaddeus has spent 15 years on active duty and two as an inactive reserve, but his kids continue to thrive. Now in her first year of high school, Paige is a standout at Roseville. Her father left recently for his third deployment to Afghanistan and the Middle East just as his daughter’s team prepared to open the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. Today, the Tigers will play for the section title. Back home in Roseville Thaddeus has his wife Stacy, daughter Paige (15), son Bryce (13) and his mother Mary. Before their children were born, Thaddeus and Stacy lived in Korea in what began the first of 10 different moves since Paige was born. “I’ve probably been gone for almost half of their lives,” Thaddeus said. “When I’m home it’s all about my daughter’s soccer and my son’s football. My life is my kids so when I’m home that’s what I do.” Paige has played for four different soccer clubs and attended six different schools. According to her mother Stacy, her two children have stayed positive. “Leaving friends is not easy,” said Stacy. “Always being the new kid is tough as well. For most of those years they have been able to attend the school on post so the other children understand. They have adjusted well in my opinion, but not without some sad days.” Communicating to Thaddeus while overseas is also not without its difficulties. Whether it be how Paige is doing playing for Placer United U16 Gold or Bryce’s basketball or Roseville Junior Midgets, the Crouch’s know what to expect by now. “Our family is big on communication so we are constantly talking about everything, school, sports, friends, dad's job,” Stacy said. “This is his third deployment overseas so it does get a little easier in regards to knowing what to expect. We enjoy every minute we can when he is home. He is the most supportive dad. He lives for his children and he is their biggest fan.” Stacy is not without some family support when her husband is overseas. Ken and Mary Crouch Whitman are Thaddeus’ parents and a play a large role in their grandchildren’s lives. Spending so much time with their grandchildren has also taught them a trick or two. “My role while our son is in Afghanistan is to be completely supportive of Stacy, Bryce and Paige,” Mary said. “I have even learned how to text to be able to communicate with my grandchildren.” According to Stacy her in-laws provide much needed positive encouragement and not to mention driving the kids to competitive sporting events. In two playoff games, Paige had the deciding goal in the 2-1 first round win over Vista del Lago and two assists in the most recent 3-0 win against Granite Bay that sent the Tigers to the section championship game. “I just want to thank all my coaches for their time, effort and support,” Paige said. “I have really enjoyed playing for Pablo (Gutierrez) and getting to know my teammates on the Roseville team.” It’s a family event out to watch Paige play soccer for the Tigers. The Crouch family back in Roseville prepares for basketball, football and soccer all week every week and always knows that across the world their father is hard at work. “We all miss Thaddeus each and every day,” Mary said. “His uncles Paul and Bob fly the American flag as we do in front of our houses. His cousins, aunts, sister, brother-in-law, nieces and his 91-year-old grandma pray for his safety and all those that serve in the military. Thaddeus understands his responsibility and simply does what is expected of him.” Military families are a breed with a special type of connection and understanding. Thaddeus continues to deploy, accepting of his career and duty to serve. In Roseville, his family sets an example of what it takes to make a loving family work. “What I do really can’t be put into words,” Thaddeus said. “In the sense of the flag and what it represents throughout American history and to my family it can’t be described. It takes a lot away from my family, but when I’m home it’s 100 percent about them.” In 15 years Paige and family have lived in Colorado, Kentucky, Virginia, Oregon, Alabama, Georgia and finally Roseville. Now stationed at Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento the Crouch family looks forward to graduating their two children from Roseville High. “I would like say thank you to the community for all the support they show to our soldiers, home and away,” Stacy said. “As well as the support to Paige and Bryce as they represent their dad while he is away.” “It’s an absolute joy to watch Paige play at Roseville,” Thaddeus said. “I’ve seen a lot of soccer and athletes in my life and she is something special.” As Paige maneuvers her way around the soccer field, her father fixes Black Hawks to soar through the air.