Building Character through Soccer

Derek Zhang ‘22, makes a positive impact within his community.

This summer 25 students were accepted in the CSGC grants program. These grants are funded due to the generous support of the Cost, Earle/Mendillo and Workman families, who established endowment funds to support the community and public service endeavors of future generations of Deerfield students. For more information on these grants please visit: https://deerfield.edu/csgc/grants

Campers: ready. Me: excited.

Next week, the soccer camp Penn Fusion Soccer Academy that I am supporting will begin. I will be spending each morning coaching, supporting, and hanging out with young soccer players who are just at the beginning of their exciting journeys through soccer. The great coaching staff that will work at the camp has structured the camp to build on skills each day. As the camp progresses, the campers will go from practicing basic skills like passing, dribbling, and shooting, to learning how to implement those skills in game situations.

Due to covid-19 concerns, PFSA has made the decision to not distribute t-shirts to campers. The coaching staff and I decided to give a ball to each player instead. This way, everyone can have the chance to play at home with an extra ball, or maybe even with the first ball that they’ve ever owned. I remember when I got my first ball. My dad took me to Dick’s Sporting Goods and we bought a yellow and green Adidas Cafusa ball which was the model used in the 2012 FIFA World Cup. We’d play in the backyard until we were tired, and I would laugh every time I managed to sneak a ball past him into the goal. My hope is that the small gesture of giving each camper a ball will give them the opportunity to make fun memories like I did and still do.

The prizes for the awards of outstanding work ethic or outstanding sportsmanship have also changed. Since we are giving each camper a ball which was the previous prize, we will now give away Adidas soccer backpacks for the outstanding work ethic award and a new pair of Nike shin guards for outstanding sportsmanship. The goal of this aspect of the camp is to show the campers that having a good work ethic and respect for others are good traits to have on and off the field, and will benefit them in life. Ultimately, I hope that after the soccer camp, the campers will be more passionate about soccer. Doing so will help them grow as a person, make fond memories, and meet fantastic friends; just like it did for me. Thank you to the CSGC for helping me make a positive impact on young soccer players in my community!

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