After three hard days of training, we were finally able to narrow our selection to four fantastic coaches. Two of them we knew from the beginning were strong leaders and possessed all the right characteristics for the job, however the last two shined more so on the second and third days. I am beyond delighted about our four Darfur United Soccer Academy coaches, and very confident that we can leave this incredible opportunity in their hands.

After two weeks, our mission was accomplished today. The four DU Soccer coaches and myself took 30+ children through the first ever DU Soccer Academy! It was an exciting moment, one which I will never forget. We took the kids through a dynamic warm up and three stations of drills and scrimmaging. They had an absolute blast. Children were lined up all around watching, observing and hoping for their chance to play. Once the four coaches get their feet underneath them, the academy will be open for all.

It’s bittersweet leaving Chad. On the one hand I am happy to be going home to see my loved ones, but on the other hand I feel I am leaving loved ones behind. These two weeks have been full of hard work, laughter, tears and immensely rewarding. I have truly made friends here in Chad, ones who I hope to know for many, many years. It’s not often you get to meet souls like some of our friends here, and I am truly a better person for knowing them.

Saying good-bye to the coaches and all of our friends was yet another difficult moment. However, the reward and inspiration from this mission trumps all other feelings. I cannot wait to hear how the Academy is running and how our four amazing coaches are doing. Maybe one day I will be able to see them again. I wish them all the best of luck for their Academy and all endeavors!

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