Posted: Oct 21, 2014
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Monday afternoon was not your typical practice for Springfield's Chestnut Accelerated Middle School boys' and girls' soccer teams. After a day of hitting the books, they hit the turf for some coaching from members of Elms College's women's soccer team.
Inspired to help his team do something more for the community, Elms Women's Soccer Coach Sean Milbier contacted his fellow coaches Molly Smith and Jared Materas at Chestnut and got the ball rolling for Monday's afternoon clinic. Fourteen Chestnut players were joined by 16 Elms players on the pitch at Springfield's Plainfield Street soccer field.
"I felt it would be a great experience for our players as well as the Chestnut team — the middle school kids," Milbier explained. "Part of what we do at Elms is help the community and I thought this was a great way to give back."
Elms sophomore defender Kylen O'Hearn said, when she first heard of the volunteer opportunity, she thought the players would be there in more of a supporting role for the coaches. What really happened, though, is she and her teammates got to work hands-on with a group of eager middle schoolers to show them some of the finer points of the sport.
"I ended up meeting the kid I was working with and I helped him learn how to pass and juggle," O'Hearn shared. "He told me all about his friends and when they play soccer together."
And what the middle schoolers hopefully took away from the experience, she said, was a lesson in balancing responsibilities, friendships, and the sport they all love.
"I felt like they kind-of took away the overall aspect of soccer, that it's important to do well in school and build a relationship with your teammates, so they saw first hand an example of how being a part of a team can have overall affect on everything you do," she added. "I felt like, personally, it doesn't matter where you're from, you can bond over something like that and it has a great affect on everything you do."
The Blazers return to the pitch Saturday at 1 p.m. for senior day and a home match against conference foe Southern Vermont College.