Eric Fabre, '16
Using sport to engage youth
Applause broke out as Ed Foster-Simeon, CEO at the U.S. Soccer Foundation, closed out the 2016 Soccer for Success National Training. It was the fourth and final day of the event, and the emotion from days of hard work was tangible in the room of this Washington, DC hotel.
I had been at the Foundation for only two weeks, but in that short time had already witnessed the amount of time and effort that was put into this event. Over 150 people from around the country had flown into D.C. to learn how to run a local after-school soccer program, designed by the U.S. Soccer Foundation and their partner communities. I had been a small part of the implementation of the National Training, and felt humbled to be in the same room as so many people that have been true catalysts for change in their respective communities.
This moment stands out to me from my summer as a Donald Kennedy Fellow because I realized that everyone in the room had chosen to use our program to create positive change in their communities. They believed that using sport was the best way to engage youth and affect their lives in a positive way. Seeing the emotion as they watched the final speech and the hugs and handshakes that went around as they said their goodbyes to their fellow coaches told me all I needed to know: this was the work I wanted to do, and I was proud to support these people in their community work.