Friday, July 2, 2010

US Soccer Advocate, Drew Carey, Writes GRS into His Soccer Saga

For those who do not associate Drew Carey with US Soccer – your life is about change.

The facts: Mr. Carey is a minority owner of the Seattle Sounders, a member of the USA World Cup Bid Committee, and occasional USMNT sideline photographer. He is a driving force in launching soccer to the heights of baseball, football, and basketball in the USA. Most importantly, he is now exploring the power of soccer beyond the field – hence his visit to the Khayelitsha Football for Hope center on July 1st.

The saga begins like this… Drew leaves his home state of Ohio for the biz in LA. As a Cleveland Indians fanatic, the thought of even watching Dodgers churned his stomach like week old sushi. This propelled him to pick up a new sport in which he has no allegiances – soccer. In fairy-tale fashion, he and Soccer hit it off. The love affair solidified during one of his early interviews in LA with a local producer. Drew was nervous for the interview, but the two found common ground through the language of soccer. In that moment, Drew recognized the uniting power of the sport. He now finds himself passionately involved with US Soccer and co- owns the only MLS team with a marching band.

Now to Grassroot Soccer… Drew met GRS founder Tommy Clark at a US Soccer Foundation dinner, which may or may not have had something to do with Mr. Carey’s visit.

On Thursday Morning, Drew ventured out to Khayelitsha to check out GRS’s famed Skillz Holiday program. Drew quickly joined campers in their opening circle and impressed them with his traditional African “Drew Dance” which lies somewhere on the continuum between the funky chicken and Shakira (video coming soon). From there, he spent the entire day amongst campers, absorbing valuable life lessons from GRS activities.

The program included a role-playing activity known as the Red-Card campaign, which struck a chord with Mr. Carey’s passion for improv. In this activity, one child takes on the role of a “victim” and the other a “deviant” (make plural to add risk) and the players enact a situation that requires a “Red Card for HIV Risk.” The purpose of the activity is to provide participants with practice for when he or she finds herself in a risky situation.

The day culminated when Drew decided to “lose the shoes” (a catchy GRS phrase) on the pitch for a friendly 5 a side match. After the game ended in a draw, he ventured into the main classroom where all the campers had congregated. He stood in front of the crowd and presented camp awards to teams and individuals with his talk-show host spunk. Then, he graciously thanked the Staff and Coaches and presented each of them with FIFA endorsed jerseys and official World Cup match soccer balls.

As this recap reflects, GRS is extremely impressed with Mr. Carey and all he is doing for the sport.

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