April 9, 2013

Women's Soccer Shares Love of Game with Local Community

DAHLONEGA, Ga. - The University of North Georgia (UNG) women's soccer team has spent the spring giving back to the local community and providing soccer opportunities to the local children in the surrounding counties through several different activities.

Head coach Chris Adams coordinated a volunteer program with United Futbol Academy (UFA) to boost the support of soccer around the area and help within the youth development system. Adams, assistant coach Stacey Balaam and team captain Kelly Penston each took a U6 team to run for a nine week season which involved training their teams and overseeing the games.

Penston, a rising senior and three-time All-Southeast Region and three-time Peach Belt All-Conference player for the Saints, commented on the experience saying, "Coaching this age is challenging but also very fun. As an education major this responsibility was beneficial to me within my methods of teaching, becoming more imaginative and keeping it an educational and enjoyable environment."

Another service North Georgia women's soccer team provided was for three- and four-year-olds called "Little Strikers." This was a six-week program where members of the soccer team helped young kids with ball coordination and learning the basics of the game.

About the community engagement programs, Adams said, "We have a great relationship with the club at UFA and it has been a pleasure to have our soccer program represent and help out with the youth development within the area. It is important to provide these opportunities and keep the kids growing within the sport."

Adams and Balaam also continued their community involvement by supervising middle school children from Chestatee Academy visiting UNG for the "Fighting the Fires of Hate: America and the Nazi Book Burnings" exhibit. 350 middle school children were in attendance for a day to tour the campus, visit the exhibit in Dahlonega and then participate in activities on the drill field located in the center of campus. Adams and Balaam ran a soccer session to finish off the day before the children returned to school.

"I am not sure how the kids still had energy to play soccer at the end of a long day but they were enthusiastic about participating and made it into a very fun and competitive game," Balaam said about the group from Chestatee Academy. "We were happy to be involved in this annual event and it was nice to see the appreciation from the Chestatee students and staff."


ABOVE: Members of the women's soccer team participate in the "Little Strikers" program, helping teach young childrent he basics of soccer.

ABOVE: Members of the women's soccer team participate in the "Little Strikers" program, helping teach young childrent he basics of soccer.

ABOVE: Head coach Chris Adams (back right) with students from Chestatee Academy following their day at UNG.