It’s not a place one would expect to see professional football players on their off day. Or their Manager. Not on a massage table or in a steam room, but instead dead in the middle of El Yunque National Rainforest.
The team headed to the tropical rainforest in the eastern part of the island to a summer Girl Scout Camp to give some soccer lessons. Camp Elisa Colberg, in El Verde in the Yunque Hills, is a Summer Camp named in the memory of Elisa Colberg, the founder of the Puerto Rican Girl Scouts originally in 1926.
Around fifty energetic Girl Scouts filled the green for a kick about with some of the Islanders’ most well known figures. The girls participated in various professional drills and practices run by the manager and players themselves before taking to mini games.
Sticking to their motto, the girls were prepared. The growth of soccer in Puerto Rico was very evident as the girls, aged 5-12, flew around the grass and converted indoor field.
For the Puerto Rico Islanders, helping out in such an unusual location is a common act. This season, the Islanders have gladly performed community service as part of the Soccer for You social responsibility project.
“The mosquitos have gotten me since I’ve been here!” David Foley lamented with a smile on his face, scratching one of the many red bumps appearing on his forearm. But the bites clearly did not cause him too much bother: “It’s really great and very important for the pros to help out with the community. I remember how much I loved when the local team would make appearances when I was growing up”.
“I look forward to doing this kind of stuff, I really do” Defender Steven DeRoux told me earnestly, “I didn’t have clinics growing up so it makes me happy to provide a service like this”.
This is just one of the many soccer clinics that the Islanders have shared with the community of Puerto Rico recently. The team has increased efforts as of late to provide the attention and care to children that it takes to grow a developing sport, and its little participants.
Club Manager Adrian Whitbread told Prislandersfc.com: “It’s great to get out here, have some fun and make it a great experience for everyone involved”.
By David katz
Picture by David Vega