Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Men's Soccer Gives Back to the Community

The Milwaukee men's soccer team took time out this spring to give back to the local community, participating in several community service projects throughout the semester.

“We said upon our arrival to Milwaukee we wanted to improve this team in all areas and we feel we are going in the right direction - on and off the field and in and out of the classroom,” UWM head coach Chris Whalley said. “For UWM soccer players, it’s important to understand how privileged they are to wear the black and gold and realize they are role models to lots of young people in this community.”

The team has devoted many hours this spring by getting out to local youth and soccer organizations and putting on various free clinics in all parts of the city for differing levels and age groups, which was enjoyable for everyone involved. They also took the time to have players and staff members donate used soccer gear and other clothing to the Journey House Recreational Center this past month.

“It’s always pleasing and rewarding to get the team out and engaged with the local community and as a program, we want to continue to develop these partnerships in the fall,” assistant coach Ben Shepherd said. “Hopefully, many of the youngsters that we had the privilege to work with will become future Panther fans!!”

At the end of March, the team spent a day helping out the MPS Adaptive Athletics program, where players took the time to try and pass on their knowledge and skills of soccer to over 300 participants during the “Special Olympics” event.

“The MPS Adaptive Athletics program is extremely appreciative for the time and efforts of the UWM soccer players and coaches that came out to help with our soccer clinic,” assistant recreation supervisor Anne McGinnity said. “We had 375 MPS athletes with disabilities benefit from their energy, patience, and knowledge of the game!”

The team then finished off its service efforts the day before its second-straight ‘Wisconsin Cup’ championship win by devoting their Saturday to helping with Habitat for Humanity. The players that participated helped out in the process of building five new houses in the local area.

“Being from the area myself, it is always nice to give something back to the community, especially to those less fortunate,” assistant coach Kyle Zenoni said. “I am proud of all the effort that the players were willing to put in this spring.”