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July 2013

First Time Soccer Tryout: Zach Kammeraad

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Hello, my name is Zach Kammeraad. I play for Lakeshore Premier SC in Grand Haven, MI. I started playing the beautiful game for the first time this past year and absolutely fell in love with it. I began by practicing on my own and then later with my brother Max. Eventually I enrolled at Heart Soccer Academy. The coaches at Heart were a huge help. After training and developing my skills, I decided I wanted to take it to the next level and tryout for a premier soccer club.

Because I had never done anything like this before, I tried to get as much information and counsel as possible. I talked to some coaches and some players. I got tips from people who spend a lot of time around soccer such as my friend Ethan, Brent Kowalski, Jeremy Hurd and others. There is nothing wrong with seeking some advice. It can always help.

Here are 5 things I focused on for my first time soccer tryout:

1. Preparation. I had to be prepared for the tryout. I hydrated. I ate a healthy meal before. I was intentional about getting good rest. Going to bed at a reasonable time was key. Being tired would not help me during the tryout. I practiced a few days before but I wasn’t intense about it because I did not want to get injured. I went through my moves and shot on a goal for a little bit.

2. Respect. I’ve learned it’s important to be respectful to players and the coaches. I knew that I needed to show them that I was respectful. I used common manners like, please and thank you, yes sir and no sir. I respected other people’s materials and if I kicked a ball out of bounds, I was the one to go get it back.

3. Play with heart. Most soccer players have heard the quote, “Play with your heart, not just your feet.” This is so true. Although coaches want good technical players, I discovered they also want players who play with passion. I made it my goal to go into the tryout and play with passion for the game.

4. Be aggressive. I learned that I have to show the coaches that I really want to be on the team. So that’s what I tried to do. I worked hard at showing them that I was a good player all around. I put hard pressure on the attackers when I was playing defense, I intercepted passes, and I tried put my body on line in order to block shots or to keep someone from scoring. Also, to show the coaches I was an aggressive player, I tried to go hard into tackles and shoulder to shoulder with guys, constantly challenging for the ball.

5. Confidence. I couldn’t go into the tryout thinking I’m wasn’t going to make the team. I didn’t get frustrated if I made an incomplete pass, I just brushed it off and learned from my mistakes. Last but not least, I believed in myself! I took the field with pride and decided to give it my all.

These 5 things helped me tremendously. My favorite soccer player, Cristiano Ronaldo said. “Sometimes you can try so hard at something, be so prepared and still fail, when you fail it causes sadness. I’ve always said a man’s character is not judged when he celebrates a victory but by what he does when his back is against the wall. So no matter how great the setback, no matter how severe the failure, you never give up.”

I am excited to see how I will grow as a player and a person. I made Lakeshore Premier Soccer Club and I’m working even harder to improve my game. I can always take my game to the next level. There is so much to learn with soccer. You really can never stop learning.

Thanks for taking the time to read this!
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-Zach, thanks for sharing with us about your experience. Congrats on making the team. Hope you have a blast this year.

E

2013 Charity Ball World Tour: Tom Bearor

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Many of you know that Charity Ball’s first World Tour kicked off January 9 and lasted almost 4 months. The tour was an amazing success. It was led by Tom Bearor, a University of Maine student who helped us integrate the project into his Semester at Sea. Over the course of the tour, he and a group of students #teamcharityball hand-delivered 500 new Charity Balls to kids in China, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Burma, 
India, Myanmar, 
Mauritius, South Africa, 
Ghana and 
Morocco. Tom had limited access to internet, but still was able to email a picture of his travels from time-to-time. I was really cool knowing that Tom and a handful of students were out there traveling the globe sharing The Beautiful Game with kids in challenging situations. He recently sent us a final update on the project. You’ve got to read the whole thing. It’s really inspiring.

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From Tom…

The day had come, January 9, 2013, the day I had been anticipating for the last six months, the first day of my Semester at Sea (SAS) voyage and of the Charity Ball World Tour. This was the start of my most life-changing experience, the day that would truly jump-start the rest of my life.

The day started with an early alarm in my hotel room in San Diego. I hopped in the shower unknowingly washing away the life I once had. I grabbed breakfast and found my group for the 8:15 a.m. bus to En Senada, Mexico. I was toting a backpack, a duffle carrying what I’d need for my four-month voyage, and another duffle stuffed with hundreds of soccer ball pumps.

We crossed our first international border as we entered Mexico to board the MV Explorer, the ship that would become my sanctuary, my community, and my home. My time in Mexico was strictly business – off the bus and onto the ship. As soon as I found my room and dropped my bags, I went to the Deans’ offices to introduce myself, “I’m Tom Bearor, the one doing the soccer ball project, and I’m wondering where the balls are.” The response I received was great. Dean Kevin and Dean Craig both jumped up, shook my hand, and responded, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Soccer Ball Tom.” I enjoyed this appellation and similar ones (e.g., Charity Ball Tom, Soccer ball kid, Charity Ball guy) on this ship carrying 700 college students. It identified me as part of a project that was big, special and definitely noteworthy.

Two weeks and many waves later, I had my first opportunity to deliver balls as part of the Charity Ball World Tour when two friends and I visited an orphanage in Japan for the first ball delivery. We enjoyed the children’s smiles and chatter as we pumped up the balls and then played with them.

CharityBall_Vietnamgirl_ball

But it was that night at dinner in Japan that I realized what this project’s most significant impact might be. I overhead a shipmate talking about an SAS service trip she had participated in. The trip visited a rural community and school, and the trip leader brought Charity Ball soccer balls at my request. The shipmate was excitedly describing her experience, and she said that playing soccer with the children was the best part of the service trip. It was as if a whole new world had opened for her – a world that brought different communities and ethnicities together; a world where language wasn’t a barrier; a world that can be made better by simple acts of kindness and generosity; a world where every kid deserves a ball. I sat back and smiled large. The World Tour would not only bring joy to the dozens of communities and thousands of people who would play with these balls after we left. It was impacting the students I was living with, most of whom want to make a positive change in the world.

CharityBall_Ghana2

An example of this was a story my friend Andrew told me as the ship pulled out of port in Myanmar, headed for India. He and another shipmate had been wandering the streets in Yangon and passed a few boys playing marbles on a dirt soccer field with broken down nets. It looked like soccer had not been played there in a long time. Andrew continued his walk and happened on a shop that sold soccer balls. He bought one and returned to the field for an impromptu pick-up game with the boys. As he turned to leave, they offered the ball to him. As well as he could, he explained that the ball was for them, and they were astounded and then overjoyed. As he told me the story, he explained that he would never have thought to do this had it not been for the Charity Ball World Tour. It was one of the highlights of his whole trip.

CharityBall_Ghana

The last experience I want to share reminded me of Ethan’s first experience gifting a soccer ball. When I was in Ghana, I had an amazing opportunity to travel with Agua, a company that uses plants to create drinkable water. We went to Obo, a rural village along the shores of Lake Bosumtwi which is a meteorite-impact crater, stretching 5 miles wide, the largest natural lake in Ghana. Fifty thousand people live around Lake Bosumtwi in about 30 different villages. We chose Obo simply because it was the first village we came to off of the major road. The purpose of the expedition was to run tests on the lake water, speak with townspeople of the health problems related to the water, and become a part of the community for a few days.

CB_Capetownboy

On the first night after dinner at the Lake-Point Guesthouse, we decided to go “into town.” It was dark, and we used small flashlights to light our way down a dirt road. Sure enough, after a 10 minute walk, we came upon the only street light in Obo around which students were studying for their exams, adults were working, and kids were playing soccer. It was the only light in town. I befriended the children and started kicking around the small “ball” with them, only to realize after about 5 minutes that we were playing with a very beat up lemon!

The next day, I accompanied the Agua team to a meeting with the mayor and council of Obo. Agua was given permission to run tests on the water, and I was given permission to make a gift of balls to the two schools of Obo. We immediately headed to the first school where I made a presentation to the children and their teachers. When I explained that the balls I was carrying were to be left for them, a roar of cheers went up. In Obo, I experienced the true power of the Charity Ball World Tour. The night before, I had played soccer for hours with old lemons that had fallen from a nearby tree. I played the only soccer that the children of Obo have ever played. Now the children had quality soccer balls and pumps that should last for years – or at least a lot longer than citrus fruit!

The balls that Charity Ball let me bring around the world changed the lives of many. They brought SAS students closer to those we were visiting. They knocked down the barriers of language and allowed us to experience cultures as friends rather than foreigners. The balls brought us together as one team, playing not for a win, but for the love of the game. The love that was spread through Charity Ball will undoubtedly live on. While Charity Ball keeps playing it forward, the world will be a happier place.

Huge thanks to Tom and his team for the great work. Our world needs more people like you.

CharityBall_Morocco

Our Journey: Jeremy Hurd

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I know him as my soccer bro, but he is much more than that. Jeremy Hurd is one of the most positive and encouraging guys you’ll ever meet. He loves kids and is passionate about the Beautiful Game. This past year his U-12 team had an amazing run. Here’s the story…

My name is Jeremy Hurd and I’m the coach for the U-12 Henlopen Sharks. We’re a small club from Southern Delaware. This is about our journey.

It all started back in the fall of 2011, when my Henlopen Sharks were U-11. Four of my current players had just watched their older brothers win the club’s first ever State Championship. Their team was called the HENLOPEN WAHOOS.

The Wahoos had a successful season, grew each match & learned to play as a team of one. My guys witnessed their journey from traveling to play in competitive tournaments, to winning the State Cup and to going away to compete at Regionals. It was astonishing to see where they started and ended up. It was also good for the SHARKS players to witness as spectators.

After witnessing the Wahoos journey, my players wanted one of their own. Those four players, along with a group of talented and competitive kids set their goals in place with a plan to achieve them. Their goals were to work hard, improve each season, compete in challenging tournaments, to win the State Cup and move onto Regionals.

From here our players were on a mission and worked really hard in training, tournaments and matches to reach the State Cup final in the spring 2013. In the final, we were down 2-1 at half but came back to win 3-2 in a magical second half with good possession, team work and beautiful goals. Next up was Regionals.

Ethan sent me Charity Ball patches to put on our uniforms a few months back and I knew that I wanted to represent his amazing charity, so this was a good way to do it at a regional competition. After getting permission from the tournament director, we put the patches on and headed to Rhode Island.

It was special to represent our state and Charity Ball at Regionals. On Thursday, June 27th they had a huge opening ceremony where each team walked in a parade wearing their state championship shirts and waving their state’s flag proudly. The ceremony was great and my players had the opportunity to meet USA’s National player Geoff Cameron and get autographs. This kicked off an amazing weekend experience.

Over the next three days, we played Rhode Island, New Hampshire and West Virginia. These matches were tough. Each play in each game was a battle for possession. We lost 5-1 to RI, lost 6-3 to NH and lost 2-1 to WV. Despite losing all three matches, it was a great learning experience. We haven’t seen competition like this before. There was a lot of pressure on the ball and we were forced to make quicker decisions. We took something positive away from each match. I’m proud how the players fought hard, played with heart, never gave up and showed a lot of character. They will continue to improve, mature and grow as they move forward to next season.

What a journey. These kids learned more about the game, its passion, set goals, worked hard to achieve them, grew as a team and most importantly, enjoyed the beautiful game!

Thanks to the HENLOPEN SHARKs for one epic journey! Tyler Jewell, Caleb Magee, Connor Hochrein, Patrick Short, Jamie Riddle, Sutton Bennett, Matt Berdini, Jake Gelof, Alex Zagal-Ponce, Ross Moshier, Brady Ford and assistant coaches, Larry Magee and Jason Moshier.

I want to thank Ethan King for allowing us to represent his Charity at the Regionals. It was an honor. The world needs more people like Ethan. People who genuinely care for others and act with their heart. Charity Ball is a beautiful way to give through soccer. I love it!

Thanks Jer.
#soccerbro

-E