CAPE TOWN, South Africa –Vanderbilt soccer closed the South Africa portion of their international travels by visiting Hout Bay and putting on a soccer clinic for children in their community on Monday.
Paired with Hout Bay United Football Community, a nonprofit organization that strives to get children off the streets of Hout Bay and develop them through mentorship and coaching to improve life skills, schooling and soccer in order to position them for a successful future and provide opportunities that would not otherwise be available.
The morning itinerary included a driving tour of Hout Bay to expose the unfortunate conditions in which families and community members are living. The tour was led by the head of HBUFC, along with multiple of its members who grew up in the Hout Bay community.
“I think I can speak for the entire group that what we saw today made us think a little differently, be a little bit more grateful and gave us a broader perspective on our own lives and how fortunate we are,” said soccer head coach Darren Ambrose.
The last stop on the tour was where HBUFC holds its soccer practices starting at age six. The Commodores were fortunate to help run soccer practices, directly interacting with the children of Hout Bay and unite through sport.
“I feel fortunate to have seen a lot of things through the sport, but today maybe one of the most profound moments in terms of impact,” said Ambrose. “Seeing the living conditions of the kids we were playing/having fun with really left a lasting impression on us. And yet a soccer ball and some space was all they needed to have fun. It was easy to see how it transformed them to a different world for a while and help be a distraction to what they deal with off the field. They were so happy, energetic and full of personality as if they didn’t have a care in the world, yet from what we witnessed, it was clear they lead a very challenging life,” said Ambrose.
“I am so impressed with the Hout Bay United Football Community model of using soccer to positively impact the lives of the children in their area. It provides more evidence of the power of sport to affect change in the world,” said Ambrose.