Taking a brief break between the end of tryouts and the beginning of the new soccer season, Eastside’s Coach Derek Robson travelled to India last month to work with underprivileged children and embrace something he had in common with the children he met: soccer.
Derek traveled throughout India, including the third largest slum in the world, Dharavi, and worked with the children who lived there using soccer as a way to build a bridge between two very distinct worlds.
For Derek, whether its teaching the children he meets a new word in English or a new soccer move, he knows he’s making a difference in the lives of these children. “Soccer is the No.1 sport in the world,” he said. “Being a soccer coach allows me teach and interact with all these amazing children.”
Of course, the kids are not the only ones who benefit from this interaction. Derek says his work with kids from around the world ultimately makes him a better coach - especially learning different ways to communicate non-verbally because there is always a language and accent barrier. “Overall,” he said. “These experiences make me a better person and help me instill important values to the EFC players I coach.”
Derek has dreamed of visiting India since childhood. He recalls growing up his first friend was a girl named Tayna, from India.
“At age six she was the best on the street at soccer out of all the boys and used to beat me at 1v1s,” he recalled. “She was from India and I have always wanted to go because of that.”
Derek has been on many international trips to work with children in developing countries, including most recently Uganda last January.
“I enjoy working with under privileged children. There is not a better feeling than making these kids smile as you can really see the appreciation on their faces.”
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