Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Franklin & Marshall Soccer Fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa

Franklin & Marshall College's 28 varsity intercollegiate sports teams compete under the nickname Diplomats. The men's soccer team is living up to its namesake, preparing to embark on an 11-day goodwill tour of South Africa to combat HIV/AIDS.

The Diplomats have raised $98,000 in less than six months and are well on their way to fund the $330,000, lighted turf facility in Khayelitsha Township in honor of the late Christopher T. Campbell. A rising senior and returning All-Centennial Conference player, the Narberth, Pennsylvania native unexpectedly passed away one day prior to the start of the 2007 season.

Campbell's family requested donations be made to F&M's Soccer Africa Project, which began with the Diplomats head coach, Dan Wagner, whose epiphany came during a service at Lancaster County Bible Church. A 1995 graduate of Messiah College, Wagner conceived of a mission to provide HIV/ AIDS prevention education to children in South Africa while instilling life-long leadership skills and a deeper understanding of global issues and culture among Franklin & Marshall student-athletes.

Wagner partnered with Grassroot Soccer (grassrootssoccer.org) in 2007 to begin making his idea a reality. Using the power of soccer in the fight against AIDS, Grassroot Soccer provides African youth with the knowledge, skills and support to live HIV free.

53 Diplomats will leave for Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa on March 14 to run a series of HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention soccer clinics, as well as to break ground on the Christopher T. Campbell Memorial Soccer Complex. They will also take with them donated uniforms and soccer equipment for use at the complex and throughout the region.

The only men's team to receive the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Ethics Award following the 2007 season, Franklin & Marshall finished the year with a record of 15-4, making their second straight NCAA Championship Appearance. With his team carrying a national ranking throughout the 2007 campaign, Wagner was named the NSCAA/adidas Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome idea to have this super quality Blog! Looking forward to updates as we develop friendships with the people of Khayelitsha, Grassroot Soccer and the Heredia family. Thanks so much for the time, creativity and energy going into this Blog!

Syl

February 26, 2008 at 6:52 PM  

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