At the end of the 2013 season, many changes were ahead for the Muchnick B99 Soccer Team. The soccer club they had been playing with since moving to competitive in 2009 was closing down; players and families were therefore facing the uncertainty of a transition to a new club and just what the future was to hold.
Many teams and players would have sat back and waited to see what was to come next, but goalie Eli Colin immediately saw an opportunity to ask teammates to donate their team uniforms.
Eli was thinking of friends he had made at the Emerald Hill School for the Deaf in Harare, Zimbabwe, where most of the kids are completely hearing impaired — and all of them love to play soccer! Some of the student players use hearing aids, but the coaches and team captains also communicate by signing instructions.
The students there have grown accustomed to getting by with what’s available, sometimes playing in conditions and with equipment that isn’t safe. Eli collected Manchester Carmel Valley uniforms and practice gear, knowing that it would live a new life at the Emerald Hill School in Zimbabwe. He and his team collected the gear and sorted it, and Eli and his family hand-delivered it to the students this summer. Two full teams were provided with uniforms!
The visit and the appreciation shown by the students already has Eli setting a new goal of collecting more uniforms as well as gently used cleats for Emerald Hill. “At our age, we are growing so fast that we don’t even get a chance to wear out our cleats before they become too small,” said Eli. “So throughout the garages in our neighborhood there are many pairs of cleats collecting dust that could otherwise be put to good use.”
Eli said that working with the kids in Zimbabwe has given him a better view of how fortunate he is and how a little effort goes a long way to help change someone’s life for the better.
For the 2014 season, Eli and his team joined Rancho Santa Fe Attack as B99 Green (Muchnick). The new season has brought new challenges, like adapting to a new club and competing in the San Diego Development Academy. In addition, new opportunities have come up, such as a trip to the UK to compete internationally at the Keele Cup. Midway through the Academy season, Attack B99 Green are 5-0 going into a bye week, getting ready for a tough second-half schedule.
To donate gently used cleats and/or additional Manchester Carmel Valley practice shirts or jerseys, text Debra at 858-342-6200 to coordinate a drop-off at 12520 High Bluff Drive Suite 355, San Diego, 92130.