SC gets involved
"It's about life skills," said Kerri McClellan, a former high-level soccer player who has twin daughters on the U12 team.
McClellan, a San Clemente resident, started the community-outreach program and says most of the girls' parents are embracing it. "My passion," she said, "is teaching girls the importance of leadership and giving back."
Outside the club, McClellan is a partner with three-time Olympic soccer player Julie Foudy in the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy, a six-day course that teaches leadership and soccer skills. McClellan and Foudy grew up together, playing soccer at Mission Viejo High School. Foudy went on to play for Stanford University, McClellan for UC Berkeley. Foudy eventually performed for 17 years on the U.S. women's team.
When it came time to sign up her 7-year-old twins, Megan and Madison, for club soccer, McClellan went shopping for a club with a well-rounded philosophy. She said she decried a win-at-all-costs environment that she feels she sees too much of in the sport.
"Female soccer has become so competitive, which is a great thing for a small percentage of the girls who are playing," she said. "But it has lost its intimacy and the balanced approach that used to provide life skills on a long-term basis."
Intrigued by Chris Murray's coaching style with San Clemente United, McClellan not only signed up her girls but also started coaching. That led to the outreach program.
"We're constantly talking to the girls about making good choices and feeling confident, playing with trust," she said. "In a team sport, they have to have tolerance and an ability to deal with team dynamics."
Kaylee Kelley, a member of the U15 team, said via e-mail that winning a soccer game is exciting, “but the opportunity to do community service and give back to others is very rewarding in a different way."
Special Olmypics Project
None of the SC United girls really knew what to expect when we pulled up to the Special Olympics venue. Looking around seeing kids that were competing made us anxious to see what our tasks were.
When we first arrived and got a good look of what our day would consist of, we had a delicious lunch that the volunteers had provided for us. The older girls were split up with the younger girls so we could help them out, so we talked and learned about each other.
All of our groups split up working on the track cheering and giving high fives and hugs to these amazing athletes that were so pleased for us to be there. I could see all of the girls anxious to hand out medals to the athletes because they just loved to make them smile and happy. When we talked to the athletes they would tell us all about their events and we would smile because of the look on their faces talking to us made them so happy.
The athletes looked forward to that one day, no matter first, second, third, or fourth place it was all about being able to compete. No matter how smart, fast, or old they could accomplish anything they wanted to do. All of us girls at the end of the day learned how it is to be a team and that it is not always about winning. The gift to go out and play the sport we all love makes us appreciate the ability to be healthy and happy.
By Tanaz Nourian Girls 16's
Friendship Shelter Project
It's always a good feeling when you help another person … On Friday, April 29th my team and I went to the Friendship Shelter in Laguna Beach to feed and visit with the residents that live there.
This project started out with an e-mail that was sent out to the team putting us in groups and giving us the items we needed to either buy or make. We talked within our small groups and organized what each of us were bringing. When the day came, we all met at Sears and then traveled to the shelter in three cars. Once we got there, we were welcomed and went straight to the kitchen to start preparing dinner.
In the kitchen, we put the pasta dishes in the oven so they were nice and warm. There were many different types of pasta such as; fetuccine alfredo, marinara with meatballs, and an angel hair casserole. I was in charge of slicing the bread and putting in it bowls, and washing the fruit. We also brought ceaser, italian, ranch, and balsamic vinaigrette salads. There were strawberries, oranges, blueberries, red and green apples that we served on the side. For beverages, we provided bottled water.
The residents sat down at the tables and we quickly gave them their warm dinner. Once everyone had finished eating, we served their sweet tooth with cookies and or brownies. Then, we cleaned up our mess and enjoyed the leftovers of what we made.
About 10 minutes after eating, we met outside on the patio and the residents began telling us parts of their life stories. They thanked us for coming and serving them dinner. One part of the evening that really stood out to me when they were talking was when one resident said, "Choose your friends carefully because they have a big impact on your life." Another resident had said, "You should choose a career you want to pursue when you are young so that you know what to do in college…You should definitely go to college!"
There were many other things that were said, but that advice stood out the most. I feel that we not only served meals to people in need, we were also taught some valuable life lessons.
We will never forget this experience, and it is definitely something we would like to do again in the near future.
By Alex Roberton Girls 15's
SC United In The News