Something That Changes Perspective

Posted: May 22, 2013 in Dominica
Tags: , , , ,

This past week I spent eight days on a missions trip to the island of Dominica.  I was blessed enough to be able and use my talents as a soccer coach to try and serve a developing country.  What a blessing to work with a people who love the game of soccer, and appreciate what little they have.

Training the NGB Soccer Academy in Dominica

Training the NGB Soccer Academy in Dominica

The trip was a partnership between Generation of Opportunities and Athletes in Action to bring seven coaches down to the island of Dominica.  We brought coaches from four different disciplines (soccer, basketball, fitness, and volleyball/ chaplain) and conducted player clinics and coaches sessions throughout the week.  This was the first trip of it’s kind to Dominica, so the trip was also as much discovery as it was action.  We met with several officials and administrators from the presidents of the basketball and football associations, to principles, city officials, and administrators of soccer academies.

I was personally impacted by the love of soccer they had.  Kids were taking buses from villages almost an hour away to attend their academy training on Saturday in the city.  Children with out proper footwear and clothing would jump in because they just enjoyed the game and wanted to be apart of it.  In a country with a total population of 70,000 people they had four competitive divisions of soccer plus neighborhood leagues and eight academies for the children to be involved in!  They love this sport, and they are passionate about playing it.

But there is a need for intervention.  The one repeating theme we kept hearing over and over again from coaches and administrators alike was the battle to teach the youth of their country the value of discipline, hard work, and respect.  There is a need for this younger generation to learn principles that will lead to success later in life, and Generation of Opportunities is trying to help change that through the platform of sport.

The trip has given me a passion to see the culture of the youth in Dominica change, and if I can use soccer to do that then all the better!  God was opening doors left and right for us to be involved in the lives of the young and old alike through this beautiful game, and I’m looking forward to going back!

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Comments
  1. John Evans says:

    It was a pleasure to read this piece.
    For the past 6 years I’ve run a non-profit called HotFutbol, working in Port Au Prince and other areas in Haiti. My perspective about the game and life in the developing world is refreshed each time I walk onto the field in Haiti. The children we meet and work with are passionate about the game, and thoroughly welcome us into their world. At the same time we are regularly reminded that kids are the same the world over, and that soccer is a language spoken in every culture.
    When I return to my D3 guys at Westfield State University, I arrive with a larger sense of possibility and an awareness of all we have in this culture. When we get water I smile, knowing this is something we take for granted in the first world. When we lace our boots I look back at the barefoot players I’ve seen on the island. Our bag of fresh, inflated practice balls is a treasure elsewhere, and a second thought here. When my guys hear about it they begin to understand the gift they have; to see the opportunity on the field as something special; and to hold their place in the classroom as precious.
    I love those trips.

    • Coach T says:

      Thanks for the comment! It’s a blessing to educate college students about what is going on in this world. Some students take so much for granted, and if we can open their worldview just a crack I feel like we’re making a positive contribution to their lives. Thanks for the work you’re doing in Haiti!

      • John Evans says:

        Thanks for your kind words. You’re right about the worldview piece. It’s very important. If you ever want to make another interesting trip and have the time, let me know. Take a look at http://www.hotfutbol.org, or the Haitian Initiative on Facebook. The fun never stops.

  2. maryt says:

    Good to know that it was a meaningful time for you, and that lives were influenced by your passion for God and soccer.

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