Women's Soccer News & Highlights
May 27, 2014
Women's Soccer Travels To Zambia
Eastern Women's Soccer traveled to Zambia at the end of the spring semester. The team ran youth clinics, met many new people in a new culture, went on a safari and saw Victoria Falls. Check out the team's updates here.
You can type http://bit.ly/EUzambia14 into your browser or bookmark this page to see regular updates on the trip. Internet access is limited, but this page will include some pictures and regular blog posts from players.
May 9: After a very long flight, we arrived in South Africa this morning and took another short flight north to Zambia. We are settled in just outside Lusaka and will be here for the next five days.
May 10: A full day of soccer and fun with the kids at Flying Mission Zambia. Here are a couple pictures.
A brief update from Emily Cole.
Thinking of how to put this first day in Zambia into words seems impossible. It was filled with more joy and love than I could have imagined. We started out the day with a soccer clinic near where we are staying. Around 80 kids came out to play, ranging from little babies all the way to teenagers. Our team split into groups and at each station, we worked with the kids on something different, whether it was passing, heading, dribbling, or juggling. Many of the kids were showing us tricks and could handle the ball so well— sometimes I couldn’t tell if we were teaching them or if they were teaching us! But either way it was amazing.
After lunch we headed back out to the field and played more soccer with the kids. The older kids stayed on one side and played some games, and the younger kids went to the other side of the field. I had the joy of being with the younger kids this afternoon, and each moment with them was so much fun. We played “duck duck goose,” some of the boys played a pickup game, a few of the smaller ones wrestled and played around with each other, and some of the girls played volleyball. Finally, we played a short game against some of the teenage boys. They beat us up pretty badly, but it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had. Many of the boys played barefoot because they didn’t have cleats, so not only was it a game of soccer, but it showed me just one of the numerous needs here in Lusaka, especially among these boys who love soccer.
I met so many precious faces that captured my heart with their big brown eyes and adorable smiles. From singing songs with them, to asking them how to say words in their language (followed by lots of little giggles as I butchered the pronunciation), to kicking around a soccer ball, or simply sitting and talking with them, these children filled me up with so much joy and so much love. It’s crazy to see how universal the sport of soccer is, and how the love for it bridges all language, cultural, and gender gaps.
Our love for soccer is an amazing tool that we can use to share our faith with these kids. Being able to explain to them that we’re passionate about soccer, but that we’re even more passionate about Jesus and how He has changed our lives is incredible. It’s only day one and I already feel like my heart has been changed by these kids. God is so good and we’re so blessed to be here and have this opportunity to not only play soccer, but to love others. My prayer is that as each day continues, God pours out more love into us that we can pour out on these kiddos. It’s crazy to see the amount of happiness and pure love for life that so many of these kids have despite their circumstances. It gives me hope, and it shows me how true joy doesn’t come from what we have, where we live, or how great we think we are at soccer, but it comes from being around beautiful people and getting to shower them with the amazing love that Jesus showers us with daily.
It’s safe to say that this place is special, these kids are special, this experience is and is going to be special, and God is incredible.
May 13: An update from Emily Roquemore
Hello from Zambia! The last few days have been full of variety. On Sunday morning we went to a church in downtown Lusaka. It was fun to experience a worship service in another culture. I love seeing the similarities and differences in worshiping the same God. It was a beautiful service and afterwards they had us stay and visit with them. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay too long because we had our first soccer match in the afternoon.
We played a team called National Assembly. They were sponsored by the Zambian Congress. It was interesting learning another country’s style of play.
On Tuesday we spent the morning and afternoon with the kids from vocal villages at Flying Mission’s field. We were all excited to see the kids that we had begun to build relationships with over the weekend. The morning clinic was filled with technical drills and in the afternoon we mixed in with the local boys and played a full field game. It wasn’t hard playing with the local Zambians because once we stepped onto the field soccer became the common language.
Wednesday morning we played the Red Arrow team which had several players who also play for Zambian national teams. Several of their top players had just returned from the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica. They have won the Women's Professional league here for the last eight years. They were fast and skillful. We didn’t come out with the result we wanted, but we got to play with some amazing players. There were many beautiful plays from both teams throughout the match.
Afterwards they invited us to have lunch with the Red Arrow players at their sponsored club house. Each of us got to sit and chat with the girls from the other team. This was another fun way to learn their culture and get to know them. Then we went to watch the Zambian women’s national team play Rwanda, which was very exciting to watch. The Zambians won 3-0 in preparation for an important African Cup qualifying match on Saturday.
My favorite part from the last few days has been to experience the connection we can have with others through the game of soccer. Two very different cultures have been able to merge and share the love of the game. It is encouraging that soccer can be so powerful because it is a great way to share God’s love.
May 20: Sorry for the delay in reporting. We have been in a more remote location for the week, and have had pretty full days. We leave tomorrow morning for Livingstone, where we will go on a Safari and see Victoria Falls. The following is a recap from Elayna Simpson.
Hi everyone! This past week has been very busy, and all of us are exhausted. Today is our last day in Macha, and I know that we all are going to be sad to leave the kids here. Each weekday morning that we’ve been here we have run clinics over at Macha International Christian School (MICS). We started the week here on Thursday in chapel with them at 7:45 a.m., which meant that we had to leave at 7:15 to make the mile and a half walk over.
Each of us had our dancing skills tested with a little introduction song that the teachers at MICS sang. For those of you that know our team well, you know that we should probably stay on the soccer field. After the dancing, that was officially confirmed.
Friday, after the clinics at MICS (and another great lunch from Corie), we climbed the water tower. The only way up to the top was to climb the 80-foot-high ladder that went up through the middle of the dark tower and was full of various spiders, bugs, and lizards. It was best that we did not know they would be there before we went up. Everyone made it to the top, which was a huge achievement for a few of our teammates that are terrified of heights (or of climbing rickety old ladders in the dark!). The view was worth the effort ten-fold… the sunset was outstanding. I wish that there was a way to put it into words. All I can say is that our God is a God of brilliant colors and designs. I think we all could have stayed there all night, except for the fact that if it had gotten too dark we never would have made it safely back down that ladder.
The weekend was very relaxing for us, which was nice, because everyone was dragging a little bit. We helped to host the first ever Macha 5K! Some of us ran, and others helped keep times and take pictures. Our wonderful coach Alli Inch made us all proud by winning the women’s side of the race. I think the most amazing runner was probably Mishak, who is a 60-something-year-old groundskeeper that ran the race in less than 20 minutes. That afternoon we celebrated Reece Thuma’s first birthday with a cookout, and got to know some of the other missionaries in town.
Church on Sunday morning was an adventure for all of us. It was a bilingual service, so everything happened in Tonga and then was translated to English. Our team sang during church. As for how that went, I will just say again that we all really ought to stick to soccer… everyone seemed to love it though. Sunday afternoon we watched two local soccer teams play against each other. Our wonderful host Elem was on one of the teams. The game ended in a 1-1 tie, but Elem scored for his team so we all were just as excited as we would have been if they had won. I think this was one of my favorite times here in Macha, because I got to watch our team interact a lot with the local kids.
The song “Waka Waka” that was written by Shakira for the South African World Cup four years ago is very popular here, so we were singing that with all of the little kids. They all are just so excited to have any attention from us, and the joy and smiles that come just from a high-five are so humbling. I found myself sitting back and just watching the team and the kids, because I really was thinking about how much we require at home to be happy. None of these children have television or video games. Many of them don’t even have clean clothes, three meals per day, or stable families. These kids are living in homes that function on less than a dollar a day, and the smiles that come from a simple high-five are usually wider than any I have seen at home in a long time. These children are a true testament to the fact that joy comes from the Lord, and I think that is a lesson that we all have learned on this trip … and that we all will do well to remember when we get home.
Yesterday after our clinics at MICS we toured the hospital and the Macha Research Trust. Eric’s grandfather started the hospital here, and his dad started MRT. Dr. Thuma gave the tour for us, because he has been around the hospital for its entire existence. The nurses and science-minded people on our team really loved both places. As for me, I was very squeamish, but mostly overwhelmed. This pediatric ward was not a place that I ever want to see again. On the bright side, we were told that the amount of kids there now as opposed to about 10 years ago is a much smaller number. The amount of work that Dr. Thuma has done is hard to believe. He has led teams of scientists for years and the group has basically eliminated malaria in Macha with research and public health programs. He also has found ways to greatly reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS from mother to child during birth. I don’t believe I have ever met a more humble person in my life. The most striking thing that he said was that he didn’t do all of this for his brain, he did it for his heart. He never set out to make ground-breaking discoveries, he just set out to make a difference in peoples’ lives … and he certainly has.
This morning we ended our time at MICS by scrimmaging the older boys there, and we are traveling to play a girl’s high school team in a few hours. It’s very hard to believe that our time in Macha is coming to an end. This has been a time of raging Dutch Blitz tournaments, hiding/running from spiders bigger than any of you want to know, amazing food from our master chef Corie, exploring, playing, and learning more about our hosts and about each other. Most of all though, this has been a time of loving people, because God loves us. We have learned a lot about the fruits of the spirit, and seeing the people here display them so effortlessly has taught us all a lot about what a relationship with God looks like. See you all soon!
p.s. Charlotte Thuma has asked me to let you all know that she loves you. I don’t think she really knew exactly who she was addressing (most two-year-olds don’t!), but it’s a great picture of how awesome our youngest hosts are. We all have loved getting to know them (and their parents!) over the last couple of weeks.
May 21: Today we left Macha early in the morning for a game with a team from Choma. The drive out of Macha was bittersweet for all of us, as we have grown close with the people and pace of life there. The trip out, however, also brings the promise of some great things as well.
Our match in Choma was supposed to begin at 9:30, but for some reason, (most likely to assure that we got to play in the noonday sun) we did not get going until about 10:40.
The stadium is the home of the Choma Green Eagles, a men's professional team that just earned promotion into the Zambian Premier league. It was nice to play on mown grass that covered the entire field. We did encounter some standing water on the field for the first time. We have not had a hint of rain since we arrived, but my guess is that the increased money from getting promotion started an irrigation plan.
After a sluggish start, the team played well and was able to score some really nice goals. We were greated by several dignitaries after the game and grabbed some Chinese food before making our way to Livingstone.
We are now in Livingstone, which is the site of Victoria Falls. We will leave for a safari in Botswana early tomorrow morning and will see the falls on Friday.
We have been blessed with good health and safe travel. We will likely have one more update before we leave.
May 26: After an amazing safari experience and a day at Victoria Falls, we made our way home. After three flights and a pair of long layovers, we arrived back at Newark Airport on Sunday afternoon. Photos from the entire trip can be seen at the following link.
Updated: Monday, 02 June 2014