This spring break, 18 Southwestern University soccer players will be spending their time off traveling to El Salvador, playing soccer and working on service projects needed in the area. The idea was put forth at the alumni soccer game last March and has now come to fruition as a one week trip to El Salvador where students will spend half the week playing soccer and three days doing community outreach work.
“I think this trip will allow me to see soccer in a different way, not just as a game, but in many ways, as a form of living for the people of El Salvador,” said Lyndsey Resnik, sophomore women’s soccer player.
Planning for the trip has been facilitated through Together in Hope, a faith-based, non-profit organization committed to building relationships with members of underserved communities and collaborating with them to promote their material and spiritual well-being. Together in Hope was founded by Diane McGehee, mother of senior soccer player Ben Feiler, and Harold Recinos, professor of church and society at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology.
“We want our student-athletes to experience the tremendous reward found in contributing to a larger humanistic cause. The chance to build relationships with members of impoverished communities around the globe will prove to be very inspirational,” said head soccer coach Don Gregory (pictured), who is accompanying the students on the trip along with assistant coach Zach Pope and head athletic trainer Glenn Schwab. “The combination of fútbol and fellowship is very exciting.”
In El Salvador, the students will stay on the University of Central America campus in San Salvador. “When offered the opportunity, I was really excited to be able to participate,” Resnik said. “I decided to go because I love soccer and traveling. It is an opportunity to be taken out of my comfort zone and put in a different environment.” Students will doing hands-on community outreach in towns that where phone service has only been available for four years. “The students will get to see abject poverty at its best,” Gregory said.
While in El Salvador the students will distribute uniforms, balls and other items at soccer clinics they will give for the youth and children in the area. The group will also be taking Southwestern memorabilia to give as gifts at the soccer matches they will play in. “I am really looking forward to the soccer clinics with the kids, as well as the life and the culture in general,” Resnik said.
If you would like to follow the Pirates during their trip they will be keeping a daily blog which can be accessed at http://southwesternpirates.blogspot.com/.