Superstar Soccer Team for Haitian Street Kids

by Project Esperanza
Vetted

Supesta has had a quiet few months. After finishing our last tournament, we have just been having practice once a week, though many of the boys play pick-up games other days. I have been working with them on learning different drills and establishing more of a routine to practice, rather than just scrimmaging the whole time. I always start them off by running, to warm up their muscles before we stretch. At first only a few boys would run, but they have slowly adjusted. I was very excited this Wednesday when I didn’t even have to say it! Before practice started, two of the boys asked for a ball, and another boy (who usually does not want to run) corrected them, and said, “no guys, we start by running!” And then the others agreed and asked me if 3 laps was enough. It was nice to see that they had also begun to appreciate the routine.

 

We are looking forward to another tournament in April and May, and hope to schedule a friendly game or two before that! Many of the boys are anxious to play against some other teams.

 

The cleats and balls have been holding up well. We have 5 balls for practice, which has been really nice for learning different skills. Some of them have lost their cleats, but almost everyone still has cleats from the last distribution we did in November.


Thank you for continuing to support our Superstars!

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game
game
It's been a super few months for Superstar Soccer! Lead by the Association of Soccer in Puerto Plata, all the local teams organized a tournament . For six Saturdays we will have games against the other 5 teams, and every age group is playing: under 8, under 12, under 15, and under 18. This last weekend we even had a special game for just our 5 and 6 year olds! We have practice twice a week and games on Saturdays, so the boys are getting a lot of practice and learning some new skills. It has been a lot of time and work for them and us (organizing rides, running practices, attending tournament meetings) but they are improving slowly and surely. 
We are halfway through the tournament, and our team was not doing very well. Some of the boys were getting discouraged and said they did not want to come if they weren't going to win.Then, this Saturday our under-15 team had a great win, 4-2. The other boys were watching and cheering them on. We used the enthusiasm to remind them about how important it is to be committed and work hard, even when it seems as if you can't win. Some of the older boys have stepped up to the challenged. One even has started helping run drills with the younger boys at practice and keeping them focused. It's great to see them take responsibility for the team and each other!
We were able to distribute cleats again at the beginning of the season, and buy a few new balls. A volunteer group from the United States is bringing more cleats this week, which we will distribute when we have a bonfire and team celebration this weekend! 
Thank you for the continued support and commitment to Superstar Soccer! 
-Project Esperanza

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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

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Game in Montellano
Game in Montellano

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!

Team Meeting
Team Meeting
Drills
Drills
Cleat distribution
Cleat distribution

Links:

Supesta fan group!
Supesta fan group!

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!

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Project Esperanza

Location: Winchester, VA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.esperanzameanshope.org
Project Leader:
Caitlin McHale
Director
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

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