Photo courtesy of Chris Soukup
Dave Soukup, president of the San Pedro Little League Football Association, signs up soccer players in San Pedro, Belize to the little league. Many of the children in the league can’t afford soccer shoes.
Through the San Pedro Little League Football Association, children in San Pedro, Belize are playing soccer in a league. They are learning a team sport from a coach, some for the first time in their lives.
Unfortunately, many of these young Belizean athletes are playing the sport barefoot.
The little league is hosting a shoe drive – Boots 4 Belize – in Mukilteo to help provide Belizean children in need with the proper footwear. The little league is asking the community to donate their children’s used soccer shoes.
Helping to run the campaign is Mukilteo resident Chris Soukup, the brother of Dave Soukup, the president of the little league.
Dave Soukup and his wife, Denise, have lived in San Pedro, Belize for 10 years. For years, they dreamed of starting a soccer league for children in the community where they live as a way to give back. With the new little league, now that dream is a reality.
It’s a reality, minus the fact that the children don’t have any cleats.
“The one thing they run into is the players who come don’t have any shoes,” said Chris Soukup. “It’s just a poor part of the country, and they just can’t afford shoes.”
He said the league is growing daily, as is the need for soccer shoes for registered players.
“I’ve got two boys that play soccer, and we’ve got soccer shoes piling up,” said Chris Soukup, a coach for the Mukilteo Youth Soccer Club. “Kids over there are growing all the time, just like kids here are growing all the time.
“Why not donate those shoes that don’t fit anymore?”
Cleat donations of all sizes may be sent to the Mukilteo mailing address below.
“We ask that you please donate any cleats that your children have outgrown,” said Denise Soukup, the league coordinator. “Our young athletes long to have the footwear required to play the game properly.
“Your donation will give them motivation to pursue a sport they already enjoy.”
The little league also asks that all contributions include a name and a mailing address for the personal donor. In return, the donor will receive a picture of the Belizean athlete playing soccer in your Boots 4 Belize.
The non-profit San Pedro Little League Football Association is introducing the opportunity for children, ages 10 to 13, in San Pedro, Belize to play league soccer in their community.
“This is a brand new soccer association – just being developed in an area that has never had this sport of soccer/football in an organized fashion,” Chris Soukup said.
Right now there are three teams, three coaches and three assistant coaches. The teams practice twice a week.
Dave Soukup has coached soccer and little league in the past, and now coaches for the San Pedro soccer league. They have an OK field to practice on, and most of the equipment they need.
The association’s mission is to develop children toward excellence throughout their lives, and starting with the benefits of playing a team sport.
San Pedro, Belize is located on Ambergris Caye, one of the largest islands surrounding the main land of Belize in Central America.
Dave and Denise Soukup hosted a summer soccer camp prior to the inception of the league. About 50 children signed up for the camp, and then went into the league.
“The benefits of sports are priceless,” Denise Soukup said. “Teaching children self-control and respect for others, learning the game, learning about themselves and developing their interests, perhaps leading them to volunteer in the future.”
Mail your used soccer shoes to:
BOOTS 4 BELIZE C/O CHRIS SOUKUP
972 16TH CT. MUKILTEO, WA. 98275
To make other arrangements, contact Chris Soukup at firstname.lastname@example.org.