NEWBERRY — The Newberry College men’s soccer team will hold a charity game next Saturday where they will raise money for Grassroot Soccer.
According to their website, grassrootsoccer.org, they are an adolescent health organization that leverages the power of soccer to educate, inspire and mobilize youth in developing countries to overcome their greatest health challenges, live healthier, more productive lives and be agents for change in their communities.
“They do most of their work in South Africa, that is actually where they started. It originated with Dartmouth College men’s soccer. There was a guy who was going to be a doctor, so he went to Africa and saw all the diseases and everything going on over there. So he was like, ‘How can we use soccer to empower people and educate them on HIV and health risks and things like that. So he started a Grassroot Soccer organization and its been going on ever since,” said Matthew Drapeau, assistant soccer coach.
The team is currently raising money for the charity now through crowdrise.com/NewberryCollege. However, the team will accept donations at the game as well. Afterward they will make their donation online to Grassroot Soccer.
The decision to hold a charity game came after the team tried to donate some old gear.
“We were going to donate some old gear that we had, we were looking for someone to give it to. So we reached out to them (Grassroot Soccer) because we heard of them before,” Drapeau said. “They said they cannot accept the gear, but they did mention they do charity games, if we wanted to help and they gave us a little background information. It seemed like a good idea. One of our goals, as a team this year, is to be more involved in the community and give back.”
Jonathan Saullo, a player on the Newberry College men’s soccer team, said it will be a honor to play in the charity game as it is for a great cause and is positive for the soccer program.
The Newberry College men’s soccer team has seven core principals, and one of those principals is “Serve others before you serve yourself.”
“We felt that this was a good way to get involved and give back, and show our guys soccer can have an impact on people’s lives and it’s more than just a game, it can help others,” Drapeau said. “The players are excited for it.It is a huge conference game for us. Carson Newman won the conference last year. They are excited to give back to a game that has given them so much, that got them to college, and they work hard everyday to get here. Now they can kind of give back to others through the game they love so much.”
The goal, set by Grassroot Soccer, is $5,000. As of right now they have raised $430 and Drapeau said their overall goal is to raise $1,000.
“We are a smaller Division II school, I think $1,000 is a reasonable goal for our team,” he said.
While there is no set minimum a person can donate, Drapeau did say that $25 is enough to provide the health services to one at-risk youth.
The game will be against Carson Newman University at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow, right after the women’s soccer game at 12:30 p.m. at the Smith Road Complex. Admission is free. Grassroot will provide a banner for the fans and warm up jerseys for the team to practice in.
During the game there may be a raffle for a pair of tickets to Atlanta United FC for next year.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.