A few weeks ago, Saugus JV girls soccer player Hope Weidman’s email inbox was flooded with photos of youth soccer players from Haiti showing off some new soccer equipment. For them, the gear was all-new. For Weidman, she’d seen a lot of it before. After all, she was the one who donated the equipment through a partnership with GOALS Haiti. “When I saw the pictures of the kids with the equipment we sent to them, it made it real for me,” Weidman said. “They all took what I sent to them. They actually used it and I thought that was really special.” Weidman, a junior at Saugus, saw a post on social media by GOALS, a program that promotes a better quality of life for families in rural Haiti through soccer and immediately racked her brain to see how she could help out.
She decided to collect used soccer gear for GOALS and sent out emails to everyone she could think of to start gathering the equipment in May. AYSO Region 678, AYSO Region 46, FFSC, Real SoCal and Saugus High School were among the teams who donated to the cause. “It took a couple months because we had to ask around Santa Clarita, old soccer teams and clubs and the previous teams I was on,” Weidman said. “A bunch of people reached out and dropped off boxes at my house. It took a couple month to get it all together but it was all worth it in the end.” Weidman ended up with nearly 300 pounds and $2,000 worth of cleats, shin guards, balls, jerseys and more. In late September, everything was shipped to Florida, where the GOALS headquarters is located, then to Haiti. She received word from GOALS Haiti Impact Director Kathy McAllister after the donations arrived that she had helped out about 400 kids in rural Haiti. “They sent a picture of a girl wearing my sister’s old sweatshirt and that was real for me,” said Weidman. “That came from our house, now there’s someone across the world wearing our stuff. It thought that was special and I’d like to be more involved.” Weidman plans to host another drive next year with the goal of reaching out to more soccer clubs to obtain the maximum amount of soccer equipment. “There’s a lot of clubs out here and small teams. Anything would help,” she said.