The main soccer field in Puerto Plata called El Polideportivo was shut down for months as it was being rennovated and prepared for professional soccer to begin. We returned and played on the field for the first time since the rennovation began last Sunday. We were so glad to be back! And even better news, we won both our games!
During the months that the field was being rennovated, we traveled to Munoz and Montellano on Sundays to play. Munoz beat us every time, and the kids kept wanting to return. Montellano beat us sometimes and we beat them. But when the field opened up, we played the local Puerto Plata team as well as a tema who came from Sosua. Everyone is looking forward to the summer when there will be three practices a week. One Sunday we even went to Los Manguitos and played with a group of volunteers who were here for their Spring Break week. We were unsure as to how to divided the teams so we put colorful shirts on one team and white shirts on the other. It ended up being a very fair match in goals and numbers of team members.
Thank you for your support.
The Project Esperanza Team
This summer we went back to practicing 3 times a week. We were in a drought and the Poli Deportivo field we used to play on was completely dry! Leche, the field manager, was not allowing anyone play on it. So we played at a field some community members had made themselves right by a resort. It does't have grass, but a dusty gravel. By the end of the summer, the rain started coming and we have since been able to play on the big field some!
Kits for Causes, an organization in the UK, donated 40 sets of cleats and shin guards. A few donors then chipped in to help out with shipping, first to New York City, and then here to Puerto Plata. They were over six months in route, and finally made it to us mid summer! This was perfect, because we require that players come to at least three practices before receiving their cleats. Also, Pace Academy in Atlanta, GA sent literally hundreds of gym shorts and shirts which we have given to our players to practice in. They are very nice quality!
Stephan, a man from Belgium in the area, is passionate about organization games in the absence of a real league, so he has set up several games for us. He is also adament that players stick to their age groups so we have been trying to get a copy of everyone's birth certificate, but many do not have it.
Through a relationship with a local non-profit called Integracion Juvenil, our players have been able to attend karate practice 4 times a week as welll, for free! We provided transportation the first day to show them where it is, and the most interested have been walking ever since. It is quite a walk, but they want to do it! I am so glad that we were able to provide them with more recreation, since during the school year we only practice once a week.
Thank you always for your support!
Thanks to KitsforCauses in Great Britain, as well as donors who contributed to the shipping, we have 40 pairs of cleats and shin guards on their way! This will be a great start to the summer program. Since the last report, we have had a few games and practices on Saturdays as well as lots of scrimmaging in the small school yard, but have not had a consistent program. But in the summer, we are preparing to return to 3 days a week, plus games. Players are reminded of this constantly, as they are constantly asking when we will play, and asking to borrow the school's soccer ball. We hope to raise enough funds again this year to be able to bus kids from two locations to the soccer field three days a week, plus game days, and to provide snacks. We should actually provide a half a pound of rice to some kids who work on the streets and can't participate, so that they will be allowed to participate.
All of this comes out to about $850 we will need to raise for the summer. And attached is a picture of our fan group of volunteers at the last game!
Thank you for your support!
Supesta participated in their first tournament in a few years. Only the players age 12 and under were allowed to participate in this tournament. Games were played every Saturday for four weeks. Some weeks we played two games in one Saturday afternoon. We ended with two losses and four ties, and were unfortunately eliminated early on. However, we told the players that they should not be disappointed, because they did not lose the majority of their games. We also continue to sit them down at the end of each game or practice and hand out a strip of paper with a bible verse on it, which we go over with them. Over Christmas break we took a break from soccer and are hoping to start back up in January. We told the kids this, but nonetheless, when I visited the school building one Saturday afternoon, there were about 12 boys waiting for the bus to take them to soccer. We let them play in the school yard for a bit and let them know that the team was on break. I am also happy to announce that an organization in the UK called Kits for Causes is sending 40 cleats and 40 pairs of shin guards for our players!
In October, Wyclef Jean did a concert at a hotel in the area. If you don't know, he is a Haitian American music artist who has supported quite a lot of education and development efforts in Haiti. We desparately wanted to get his attention but had trouble getting an inn. After soccer practice on the day of concert, we drove to the hotel where he would be playing, to try to get the guards' attention even more. They said he had not yet arrived, but would let any of his staff know that an entire soccer team had come to see him. We ended up sending our coach to the concert, finding a very cheap ticket, with several copies of the attached flyer. He actually got the chance to hand one directly to Wyclef as he passed through the crowd, but we never did hear from him. However, the verse we went over that day was:
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. - Matthew 7:7
And in Haitian Creole:
Mande, y'a ban nou. Chache, n'a jwenn. Frape, y'a louvri pou nou. - Matye 7:7
Thank you for your support! We couldn't do it without you!
Supesta has had a great summer! Although we have not received a ton of support through Global Giving, another donor sent in funds to cover our summer expenses, which include paying the coach, transportation two and from practice and games three days a week, snacks, water, and equipment. We have had 40 boys consistently practicing with us between the ages of 7 and 18. Four young men in their early twenties who have been members of the team throughout the years help the coach in running drills and exercises, as well as acting as referee during scrimmages. We divide them up into two groups as we obviously have a large age range. Some fights have broken out at practices, but all in all, this summer has been a great time of boys becoming friends and growing as a team. We have a talk at the end of each practice, which is one of the most important parts. We give life advice and often hand out a Bible verse to discuss for the day. We have given prizes to those who remember the verses, for those who have the best attendance at soccer practice, and for those who have the best discipline.
School starts on September 9th and this will cause us to only be able to have soccer practice, at most, once a week. Some kids go to school in the mornings, some in the afternoons, and others at night, so this makes it impossible for us to practice during the week. We haven't made solid plans for the school year yet but do hope to keep meeting once a week to keep the team together, and then pick things back up next summer.
Thank you for your support. Without it, we would not be able to do much soccer-wise with this awesome group.
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