The ETSU men’s soccer team joined the Language and Culture Research Center on the intramural fields Sunday to hold Sports 4 All, a soccer clinic for children from age 2 all the way to 18.
The LCRC works closely with the Hispanic community in the area, but the event was open to all children.
The event started out with the men’s soccer team setting up small sections that each featured a different skill for the kids to learn such as shooting, a dribbling race and passing games. The kids were split into groups and all went through each section interacting with the men’s team players and enjoying the universal sport of soccer.
While soccer was the focus of the day, it was not all the event had in store. After the men’s team finished up their games, the kids and their families had pizza and socialized. After eating, the volunteers for the event gave a presentation on how the kids should be healthy and active, explaining why they should always get out and play.
Ardis Nelson, director of the LCRC, has been putting on the annual Sports 4 All event since 2004.
“Soccer is a really big important cultural value to all Latino, Hispanic countries,” Nelson said. “Soccer is something everybody can identify with.”
The LCRC is all about combining the Hispanic community in Johnson City with the majority because it is a way for children — and adults — to understand one another, and soccer is one of those universal activities that knows no language boundary.
The event was coordinated by the workers in the LCRC, as well as service-learning students and volunteers from the ETSU student community. The men’s soccer team was flexible and helpful to the children, as well, making the event something the children will remember.
Volunteer student Katherine Raines looked at the event as a promising sight because kids were focused on more than just sitting around.
“My favorite thing that I saw today was seeing the kids enjoying themselves and playing soccer,” Raines said.
Martha Hawk, another volunteer, worked closely with others to make sure everything was set up, prepared and running smoothly for the event. This was her first time volunteering for Sports 4 All, and she said she will be back.
“My interest in this activity [came from] where I had been the youth soccer commissioner in another area in East Tennessee,” Hawk said. “I really missed it, so it was a chance to get back on the soccer field.”
Sports 4 All was a success, with 22 kids and a whole lot of soccer fun.