LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall's men's soccer team is preparing to ship off to South Africa this Monday for the trip of a lifetime. The 12-day adventure runs from Wednesday, May 14, to Sunday, May 25, with the ultimate destination being the Christopher T. Campbell Memorial Field in Khayelitsha.
This will mark the third time men's soccer has made the trek to the region and is unique among most collegiate team abroad trips in the fact that it will be nearly 90 percent student funded, with 100 percent of the team making the journey.
The experience is meant to serve a number of functions for the team and will focus on the areas of education, community service and of course; soccer. One of the goals is to help create a more well-rounded student-athlete that aligns with the principles set forth by the DIII philosophy of discover, develop and dedicate. A resounding theme of the trip will be an education on the life of Nelson Mendela, with a stop at the cell on Robben Island that once held the South African revolutionary, philanthropist and President.
At least five matches will be played by the team during their time in South Africa against competition ranging from talented U18 teams to a professional Cape Town club. The Diplomats will also take part in a unique Crime Prevention Tournament that will place one F&M soccer player on each of the top-20 teams in the area. The program has been a huge success and has shown to drop crime rates in the township surrounding the facility by 28 percent.
The Diplomats will be performing important community service tasks as well, with the goal of connecting F&M with the people of Site B Khayelitsha in an effort to develop both communities through the F&M South Africa project/CTC Ten Foundation.
In the March of 2007, men's soccer coach Dan Wagner launched the F&M South Africa Project. By fall of that year, tragedy occurred and changed the course of the project. The initiative was transformed into the CTC Ten Foundation, which was founded to honor the memory of Chris Campbell, an All-Centennial soccer player at F&M who passed away just prior to the start of the 2007 season.
The Christopher T. Campbell Memorial Field was built in Khayelitsha, Site B, South Africa, the first community turf field in the area, and a replica of F&M's Tylus Field. Campbell wore the number 10, which was stitched into Tylus Field in Lancaster. His family and friends wanted to make a lasting, positive impact on children in this world in his honor.
This gave birth to the idea of building a field that would serve as an education and community hub in one of South Africa's most impoverished townships, where each month more than 2,000 local children participate in programs at the field ranging from a young adult crime prevention league to girl's empowerment teams.
Dipsoccer.com Blog – To get a unique player perspective of day one through 12, follow along with a daily blog post at dipsoccer.com.
F&M Soccer Africa/CTC Ten Flickr – Photos from the trip will be frequently posted on the F&M Soccer Africa/CTC Ten Flickr account.
GoDiplomats Youtube – Videos will be posted throughout the journey on the GoDiplomats.com YouTube page.
GoDiplomats.com – Check in with the GoDiplomats.com site throughout the trip for up-to-date stories on the experience of the team in South Africa.