Soccer: Opportunity for Mission, Not Just Recruiting

Post a Comment » Written on March 2nd, 2007     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (March 2, 2007) – Head Coach Kyle Lubrano-Fluhr is used to making recruiting trips to encourage women soccer players to attend North Park University. Today, however, she is traveling to Liberia on a two-week mission trip that will include working at a soccer camp and helping start a youth league.

“We will use soccer as a tool to teach important values and life skills, including self-esteem, teamwork, discipline, respect, fair play, and fun,” Lubrano-Fluhr says. The game is an excellent way of communicating with people in other countries, she notes. “Soccer is an international game and understood by all countries, so whether it’s played here in the U.S. or in Liberia, the things it teaches are all the same.”

Kyle Lubrano-FluhrLubrano-Fluhr and nine other people, including her assistant coach, Meredith Vail, are traveling to Monrovia, Liberia, with Teams4U. The organization, based in Great Britain, does sports camps around the world and also helps build orphanages and churches. Samaritan’s Purse will host her and nine others making the trip. She will return March 12.

“We will be visiting a children’s ministry in Monrovia and working with women’s soccer coaches at their national stadium (Antoinette Tubman Stadium),” Lubrano-Fluhr says. The group will then travel “up country” to visit existing projects, such as fishponds or rice swamps that are being built. While there, they also will do soccer activities with children. “We then return to the city and play in a match ourselves, and before leaving, we will visit local churches.”

Lubrano-Fluhr learned of the opportunity from a friend, Seren Frost, who had worked for Mercy Ships for six months last year in Ghana and Liberia. “She fell in love with Liberia and its people and has been working on a program to start soccer leagues for the children of Liberia,” the coach says.

Frost is working on a proposal to spend a year in the impoverished nation to build the program. The Vikings coach has been helping with fundraising and administration, but this will be her first trip to the country. The first week of the trip will be with Teams4U, and the second will be working with Frost to start the league.

Lubrano-Fluhr says she is making the trip because, “I think it’s important to give of yourself. More importantly, when you are given a talent, you should use it to help others.

“There are so many others that are in need, and though I wish I could give Africa a million-plus dollars, I cannot,” she adds. “My part is small, but every little bit helps. As we get older, we start to see that there are others far worse off than we are, and we do what we can to help them.”

The trip is representative of Lubrano-Fluhr’s everyday work since she began coaching at the university two years ago, says a colleague, men’s soccer Head Coach John Born. “I have gotten to know Kyle pretty well over the past two years and one thing I have noticed is that she quietly leads by example. Flying off to Africa and doing a service project is another example of her leadership and teaching style.”

Lubrano-Fluhr says anyone wanting to support the new league should email Seren Frost.

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