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Giving back to the Future Girl Soccer Players

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My names Danielle, I'm 17 years old, and I live in a small town called Newberg, near Portland, Oregon. I have played soccer all my life. Ever sense I could play, I've played and I have never stopped, its a year round thing for me. I also really enjoy children, they bring such a joy to life. After high school I plan on studying pediatric nursing. My Junior year in high school a friend of mine and I decided we wanted to put our skill of soccer and love for kids all into one. We decided to coach a youth girls fifth and sixth grade soccer team. We enjoyed it so much that we did it again this fall, except we coached a younger girls team, a second grade team. There was no pay and it took up a lot of our teenage lives. We had two, one hour practices a week and one in a half hour games every Saturday, for 6 Saturday mornings ranging for 8am to 1pm. Although we completely agree that it was worth every minuet of our time. We enjoyed doing it for the young girls in our community and for their families. We at first were nervous about how the parents of  7 year old girls would trust us with their kids, but we soon learned that they much appreciated us and what we were doing for their daughters. Not only were we teaching them the game of soccer, foot skills, and positions on the field. But we taught them team work, how to get along with everyone on the team no matter if they went to the same school or if they were friends or not. We taught them to use nice words and talk out their feelings if they were upset about something or upset with a teammate. We tried to talk about school every practice and talked about doing their homework and what they liked about school and what they were learning. We taught them that its important to eat right and exercise, the importance of getting outside in the fresh air every day. And there was so much more. We really loved just talking with the girls about life, and they loved telling us. They told us about their family and their pets, they’d tell us about the cute boy in class, and what their favorite things were. We wanted to be good role models and we wanted them to see how much fun soccer could be. My friend and I played on the Varsity team at our high school. This gave us the opportunity to invite the girls and their family to come watch one of our home soccer games, under the lights. The girls partnered up with a Varsity player and we all got announced and ran onto the field for the national anthem together. The girls got to be "ball girls" and help keep a ball close in bounds when it got kicked out. The next week at practice our girls were so excited and couldn't stop talking about it. Their parents really enjoyed watching the game and said that they were glad to have such good coaches. This made us feel wonderful inside. Even one of the grandfather of our girls made sure he told us how he thought we were doing such a wonderful thing for these girls. Now we only hope that they will remember us forever, and keep playing a sport, no matter if its soccer or not. I love the community that I live in and I have lived here in Newberg, Or. my whole life. I played in the same recreational soccer program when I was their age, and I feel wonderful about giving back to my community. I hope that at least one of the younger girls will grow up, and end up coaching a team when they get to high school, just wanting to make a difference.

Thanks so much for hearing my story,
Danielle ("The sunshine Girls" Soccer Coach)





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