Soccer Balls, Jerseys Bring Smiles to Jamaican Community


Claire (right) pictured with the local children.

Claire Theberge, Seacoast United U13G Premier goalkeeper, travelled from November 1-8th on a missions trip with her church group to Buff Bay, Jamaica. Her group stayed in a mission house in the middle of town, in a community where most people live in tin houses.  There were 17 on the team, including Claire’s older sister, grandmother, and aunt. Their work in the town included visiting schools, hospitals, churches, sports teams, and running a Vacation Bible School for the local children. 

“One of my favorite activities was giving out soccer supplies,” commented Claire.

“To make this happen, I asked SUSC and my U13 team for donations of soccer balls,” she continued. “They enthusiastically provided me with more than I could carry! Donations totaled over 40 balls of all sizes, dozens of cones, pinnies, and bags, and more than 100 shirts. My sister and I packed as much as we could into two large suitcases. When we visited the Jamaican schools, we presented them with bags of the donated supplies. The kids were so happy to see real soccer balls because normally they used a deflated ball, a clump of newspaper, or empty juice cartons to kick around during recess.”
 


  Claire (right) pictured with her older sister Emma and their soccer ball donations.

On Thursday Claire had the opportunity to visit the Buff Bay semi-professional soccer team. She was able to play juggle pass with the team while waiting for the practice field to be available. Impressed with the players’ foot skills, Claire noted how much of an honor it was to play with them. She presented them a bag with 3 match balls and jerseys. Having new balls was exciting for them, and they were really taken by having a matching set of shirts. 

“To see how excited they were over matching shirts made me realize how much we have,” she added. “At Seacoast not only do we have two game day uniforms, we even have matching training uniforms! Giving the shirts to the players was a special moment because I could see how excited they were to look like a team in their new jerseys.”
 
Another memorable experience was playing soccer outside every day with the smiling kids from the neighborhood. They are quite talented, and when Claire had the ball she found it enjoyable to see them in a circle around her calling her name for a pass. 
 
“I'm so glad that I got the opportunity to go to Jamaica and distribute the balls, shirts, and other supplies to the people there. All the kids love soccer and play it every day whenever they can. They don't have much, so it is always a treat for them to receive gifts that they wouldn't be able to afford. Thank you to my Seacoast friends for your support!”


Distributing shirts to the local children.
 

Juggling a soccer ball with the Buff Bay semi professional team.

Photo of the Buff Bay semi pro team.