For our end-of-year function, we had a fun day playing soccer on Fish Hoek beach and swimming. We also had an awards ceremony and braai to reflect back on what we did throughout the year, how we have grown as an organisation and to congratulate the children on completing a year of our Soccer Sunday Program. It is important that the kids feel a sense of accomplishment and that we acknowledge their hard work and dedication. A few boys go the extra mile in their self-discipline and always motivate their peers so we had specific awards for different categories… Even the best dressed! We really want to leave them feeling proud of themselves and inspired to achieve greatness!! Shaun Blankenberg, one of the boys wrote a bit about why he loves soccer and I thought I would share it here because it highlights the impact the sport has on the youth and why it is at the core of our mission.

I love soccer because it makes me relax, and concentrate and brings a bond with my teammates. I would say soccer is like a life lesson. The defenders are responsible for overcoming every opponent or obstacle. The midfielder is responsible for the balance which means you have to balance your life and lastly the strikers are responsible for scoring with every opportunity given. This teaches us that when opportunities occur we must take them without hesitation. Soccer also makes me forget my life problems, and enables my brain to think faster. I love soccer because it allows all ages and religions to play and is against racism. Soccer is unique because it crosses all geographic and religious boundaries, and everyone is welcome to participate.

Follow your dreams

Soccer makes me feel happy and like I’m in power to tackle every obstacle in my path. Soccer makes me feel confident about myself, especially when playing with people who are close to me. Most of the time I feel like I’m the key player, pushing myself to my greatest limits. It helps me to increase my skills in concentrating, persistence and self-discipline. Soccer provides an opportunity to increase my self-esteem and help to reduce anxiety and also helps me to feel better about myself. It actually builds me in a way that I can be more reliable on myself.

You can achieve anything you set your mind to

I attend soccer practice every Sunday because with the Bartosch Foundation I feel like we’re family. We look after each other and mostly like the bond that we have and the way we understand each other individually. I want to enhance my football ability to it’s greatest limit as possible, to compete against one another and this helps to see how much I have become stronger physically, perhaps it has changed or remained the same. I practice soccer because it helps me in terms of fitness, it lowers body fat and improves muscle tone.

My dream for my future is to be a soccer star and for me to bring light to my future I have to overcome obstacles in my way and most of all to have discipline. To ensure myself with time management and be respectful and careful of the way I speak to my peers.

Sport is good for the youth in the Masiphumelele community because it gives people an opportunity to show their talents and to succeed through their talents. This is good because it also plays a big role in preventing the youth from taking substances, making the wrong decision and through sports it’s easy to seek help. Sports also keeps the youth away from bad friends who may have a bad influence. Sport also helps the youth stay motivated and happy! Happiness is everything!

Written by Sean Blankenberg, a participant in our Masiphumelele Soccer Program

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