Soccer Athletes Score Big at Local Elementary

san marcos elementary student propels soccer ball toward goalSan Marcos Elementary student propels toward goal. Photo by Meg Aida

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The California State University San Marcos soccer athletes are teaming up with a local elementary school in an outreach program that teaches the children about soccer, sportsmanship and the path to college.

Every Friday during morning recess, about a dozen Cal State San Marcos soccer players from the men’s and women’s teams head over to San Marcos Elementary to set up matches for over 500 second through fifth graders. While the youth play, CSUSM athletes and assistant coaches Ian Eggleston and Courtney Drummond corral the action on the field, make calls and give encouragement and advice.

The partnership was created by Principal Stephanie Wallace and Eggleston who started talking this summer about collaborating together. “We are always looking for ways to teach our kids to play together, have good sportsmanship and learn the rules of sports,” said Wallace.

This isn’t the first community partnership that CSUSM soccer athletes have been a part of. The women’s soccer team volunteered time last spring for Operation Help a Hero, cleaning barracks and creating care packages for deployed troops. Both teams have participated in similar soccer programs at schools in Encinitas and Vista. “Our athletes are really positive and conscientious. We want to be more visible in the community,” commented Eggleston. They pooled $100 of their own money to purchase soccer balls for the elementary students and they lug their own goals, balls and bibs to the field every Friday to set up.

The soccer athletes are role models to the elementary students, many of whom dream of playing the sport at a collegiate level. Head Coach Ron Pulvers with Drummond and Eggleston hopes that their players will model the self-confidence, persistence and academic preparation necessary for the elementary students to succeed in college.  “Playing soccer with them gives these kids motivation. They feel comfortable talking to us and asking questions about college because of our shared love of soccer,” said mid-fielder Louie Farfan.

freshman louie farfan kicks ball to youth.
  Freshman Louie Farfan sets up a kick. Photo by Meg Aida

Wallace is excited about the opportunities that this partnership will present. “It makes college a reality to them. Our kids see these college students as people they can be as well. They will take these skills with them in sports and in life.”

Pulvers, a first-generation college graduate himself, hopes it is especially inspiring for the elementary students who may be the first in their families to attend college. “We have big dreams,” said junior Amy Alber. “By getting them into soccer, we can help inspire them to get to where we are now.”

“[Spending time with CSUSM athletes] makes college a reality to them. Our kids see these college students as people they can be as well. They will take these skills with them in sports and in life.” said San Marcos Elementary Principal Stephanie Wallace