Wednesday, September 07, 2016
This entry is from Andrew Breithaupt. He is a district coach for US Youth Soccer ODP Europe in Stuttgart, Germany. He holds the “D” License and the National Youth License. Andrew had a recent trip to Kosovo and had this to say upon his return.
“Kosovo is small country in the Balkans about the size of Wisconsin that most people know nothing about. The country and its people continue to recover from one of the worst civil wars in Europe since World War II.
Recently, I traveled to Kosovo providing humanitarian aid. In a remote area where we were working was a bunch of kids hanging around all day. They watched the entire day while their families herded around the livestock they owned.
The kids had a single torn up old soccer ball that barely held air while they kicked it around. I turned around at the gate as the ball accidentally hit my feet while passing by. I played it back and they motioned for me to join them playing. I dropped my gear and jumped into the play, work boots and all. For the next 30 min we played and played. They didn't speak a bit of English but that just didn't matter, all we needed was the ball and the game.
Parents in the US often worry about turf fields not being open enough, the newest $200 cleats being sold out, or their child not getting to start the match every game. These kids had one torn up ball among them, some only had an old pair of Crocs on their feet, and one had no shoes at all. We played on a gravel road with giant tank track ruts on both side and a ditch. The goals were a couple rocks drug over. There was no out of play, they played thru the ditches, gravel, and even boulders like they were just another defender. A couple of them would make an ODP team no question and probably never had a day of training in their life. They just played the game and laughed.
They really put the essence of the game into perspective for me in a way I'd never thought. It was an experience I'll never forget.”