News: Seahorses come to station, spread soccer knowledge, faith
Story by Lance Cpl. Cayce Nevers
IWAKUNI, Japan - The Southern California Seahorses, a non-profit organization and member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, took their soccer skills to Penny Lake fields here Aug. 7-9, 2012, teaching children the fundamentals of soccer during the Biola University Women’s Japan Tour with Seahorse Soccer 2012.
The students of Biola University, a private evangelical Christian university in La Mirada, Calif., travel every four years with Seahorse Soccer, spreading their faith through soccer and voluntary fellowship meetings.
“I am a big fan of sports,” said Brittany L. Barr, a Biola University team captain. “It is such a cool way to be able to share what we know and show that we are all the same in playing sports, it does not matter what language you speak.”
Sports are a way to keep children active and why the women from Biola spend their summer traveling Japan spreading their knowledge.
“It builds relationships,” said Barr. “Sports can be an outlet for the children. They learn to be on a team and to work with other people. It is a good skill to have because we all obviously work with people at some point in life."
Approximately 50 children participated in the Seahorse soccer summer camp. This was the third and final stop for the Seahorses on this year’s tour. The team also traveled to Iwata and Osaka.
“Kids need to learn to serve instead of receive,” said Paul Gizzi, Director of Ministries. “For us, serving these children of military families is a great way to bring honor and to say ‘thank you.’”
Throughout the three-day summer camp, the children learned the basic components of soccer, such as passing, receiving and shooting.
“The first day, we did dribbling skills and we played a few games,” said Barr. “The second day, we did passing drills, and the third day, we put our emphasis on shooting. We will also have a closing ceremony and possibly have the girls scrimmage with the children.”
Throughout camp the Seahorses were not the only ones having fun, the participants of the camp also said they had fun hanging out with the girls and learning.
“I really wanted to do it,” said Evie Smolenski, 9, Seahorse summer camp participant. “I would do it again because the girls were nice.”
The children were not only glad to play and learn about soccer, they were also happy to have the Seahorses here to teach them.
“I mostly liked the girls,” said Madielynn Peet, 7, Seahorse summer camp participant. “They are funny and the minute I saw them I was like, ‘I really want to meet them.’ I am really going to miss them.”
Although the summer camp has ended and the Seahorses are gone, the children will remember the time they spent with them.
“I like the girls, they are really nice and they are signing our shirts,” said Colson Baggs, 9, Seahorse summer camp participant. “I would do it again because it was really fun, and I really like soccer.”
The Seahorses will continue to pass on their knowledge, wisdom, faith and love of the sport to the children they interact with.