It’s Football time in Bundibugyo!

One of the ministries I have the joy of being a part of here is the Girls’ Football (Soccer) Team at Christ School.  We have a stellar team, who’s made it to Nationals for a number of years and who are so full of personality.  Spending my afternoons on the pitch (field) with them is always fun and usually exhausting (my energy and athleticism are definitely not that of a 16 year olds anymore!).  I’ve got some nice bruises and some stronger legs thanks to our training.

Some of the girls have played on the team for years, while for others it is their first season on an organized soccer team.  They play hard and are excited to be there…except maybe for conditioning work! It’s a whole lot of fun, learning, laughter, and joy.

For those who know me, you know sports have been a huge part of my life.  I grew up swimming year-round for 12 years and competed locally, regionally, and at State. When I started high school at CPA, I was able to join the Womens’ Soccer Team and loved it!  Despite being late to join the beautiful game of soccer, it is a sport I am passionate about.   I played other various sports for random seasons growing up, and I always love watching some football with my Daddy!  Sports had a large hand in making me the person I am today.  They taught me discipline, passion for something greater than myself, dedication, perseverance, hard work, and joy in participating in a fully present way.  I have lifelong friends and role models thanks to sports teams I have been a part of.  I think sports are one of THE BEST ways to grow a child and invest in them.

And y’all, the playing changes these women. It gives them self-confidence and camaraderie in a community where they are not respected highly or seen as valuable.  In the district that ranks highest in teen pregnancies in the NATION, this game changes them.  Their effort and success on the field is something that helps them hold their head high.  It gives them something to care about beyond just the role their community assigns them.  People notice that they rock the field and they cheer them on and believe in them.  You know what that does for a young woman who’s never been believed in and cheered for?  Young girls want to be like these players, they look up to them.  Soccer is changing lives in this corner of the world.

But the reality here though is that it’s hard to get our team to the field.  Our existing funding is about a tenth of what we need for the year of soccer.  Somehow, every year, the Lord helps us make it work.  Sometimes the girls play games barefoot, but still they play.  We almost always practice barefoot, with the 6-7.5 pairs of cleats floating around (and lots of feet getting stomped who don’t have shoes).  As the Headmaster told me, “Even when we manage to get cleats by game time, sometimes they remove them during the game because they are too heavy since they’ve not practiced in them.”

CSB Girls’ Football Stats

20 Girls on the team

4 Coaches

2 Soccer Balls

7.5 Pairs of cleats (boots)

0 shin guards

2 pairs of soccer socks

2 sets of uniforms: 1 from another school, 1 from the netball team

0 Goalie gloves

0 Practice jerseys/pennies/etc.

Our team fights hard, they play hard, and they succeed.  We have won the district for years, continued to Regions, and often make it to Nationals.  We are hoping for that again this year.  In our District, it’s not so bad when we don’t have enough cleats to go around.  We can make it work.  But as we get out of the District, we face teams who are well equipped, strong, and competitive.  When our team hasn’t practiced well-equipped, they struggle.  They do battle and often win games at Regionals, but beyond that it is even more of a challenge.

Might be one of my favorites…for weeks, she’s played with just one cleat!

In Uganda, Bundibugyo is one of the poorest of the poor areas, and others outside of Bundi know this.  In National competition, we do not receive much respect. We are seen as backwards in many ways.  And when we have falling apart or very limited equipment, this idea is reinforced.

Would you consider loving this team with me and encouraging their hearts through a pair of cleats or socks?  To have the things they need to play the game helps them believe in the immense dignity He has given.  My hope is that, regardless of equipment or gear, we walk into every game with heads held high. My hope is that these 20 young women will know they are valued, esteemed, and magnificent because of their Creator.  But you know what never hurts?  Looking good! Dress like you want to feel right?  Will you help me help these women dress and play as the amazing athletes and young ladies they are?  It takes as little as $5…

1 Pair of cleats: $25

1 Pair of socks: $5

1 Set Shin guards: $10

1 Soccer Ball: $18

1 Uniform: $8

Uniforms for the whole team: $160

Goalie gloves: $48 (all imported, so prices get crazy!)

Tournament expenses: Various, ask me if interested in giving specifically toward these

If you want to love the young women of Bundibugyo, consider giving toward our football team.  It will make a difference in the lives of each of these 20 women, I guarantee it!  You can give online here.  ****PLEASE note in the giving form that it is for CSB Girls’ Football/Soccer, as this helps us get it designated correctly.****  You can also give via mail, email me for info on that: sarahkcrane {at} gmail {dot} com.  Help us play and struggle together for the greatness He has before us!

 

Post-practice team shot

 

“Believe me, the reward is not so great without the struggle.” 

~ Wilma Rudolph

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