It’s often said that sports are a great way to foster leadership skills. At Rochester, athletes aren’t waiting until after graduation to put leadership in action.
During this spring semester, the men’s and women’s soccer teams, as well as the women’s lacrosse team, reached into the community to show how sports can help improve bodies, minds, and quality of life.
“There’s no better way for our team to get involved in the community than through sharing our passion with young girls,” says Bridget Lang ’13, a goalkeeper on the women’s soccer team from Robbinsville, N.J.
On May 5, the team ran a clinic for girls ages 6 to 12 in the Rochester City School District. The Yellowjackets taught basic skills to the girls—many of whom had never kicked a soccer ball—played matches, and took them on a tour of the River Campus.
The Yellowjackets hope the clinic will lead to the formation of a girls team as part of the Riverflow Soccer Club, the only travel soccer club in the city of Rochester, which is currently made up only of boys’ teams.
In February, the men’s soccer team helped bring about the first Yellowjacket Cup soccer tournament to raise money for the Riverflow Soccer Club, as well as Grassroot Soccer Rochester, a University-wide student organization that brings evidence-based programs using sports to serve at-risk youths.
“The turnout was wonderful,” says Josh Richards ’12, of Grassroot Soccer Rochester. “We had 24 teams play in a World Cup–style tournament with group stages, then knockout rounds.”
And in April, the women’s lacrosse team teamed up with Friends of Jaclyn, an organization founded in 2004 by the family of then nine-year-old lacrosse player Jaclyn Murphy. The organization matches pediatric brain tumor patients with sponsoring sports teams. Sporting “Friends of Jaclyn” T-shirts in the warm-up before a game against Vassar College, the women joined Vassar players in honoring eight-year-old Grace Leva.