ST. LOUIS, MO (November 17, 2017) – St. Louis Scott Gallagher coaches returned from a six-day mission trip to Honduras as part of the club’s Upper90 project, marking the fourth time in two years that SLSG has sent supplies and coaches to the Catacamas region. The latest visit was conducted by SLSG coaches Ren Herzog and Drea Barklage in conjunction with a medical brigade of Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialized doctors led by Dr. Allen Wild to treat the local population.
The brigade arrived at the Santos Hermano Pedro Hospital on Monday, November 6th and conducted at least two soccer school sessions per day throughout the visit. Every morning at 9:00 AM local time, school children from across the region would make the journey to the hospital for the opportunity to receive soccer shoes generously donated by SLSG families. In the evenings, local youth soccer clubs would visit to receive training and new soccer balls for their teams. During the six-day trip, an average of 60 children would visit in the morning to receive new soccer shoes while over 70 children would arrive in the evening with their teams for the new equipment. In total, SLSG was able to donate over 400 pairs of soccer cleats and 130 soccer balls to the local Honduran youth, most of whom never had proper footwear during their lifetime.
Coaches Herzog and Barklage also had the opportunity to train the local professional club Juticalpa FC, of the Honduras First Division, and share philosophies with the coaching staff. SLSG was able to provide Juticalpa FC with full 11v11 goals to replace their deteriorating nets. During the visit, both became celebrities as they were interviewed on the local news explaining their mission and purpose. “Once the word got out that we were at the hospital providing soccer shoes and doing some camps, the number of kids and people visiting just exploded,” said Barklage. “Soccer is the escape from their troubles and everywhere you look, there are two trees with a tree branch laid across the top as a makeshift goal that they use to play.”
Both Herzog and Barklage were overwhelmed by the positive attitudes of the locals despite the daily challenges they faced, even those who live without electricity and running water. “They are a happy people always with a smile on their face[s],” said Herzog. “It definitely makes you appreciate all the privileges we have been given and take for granted.”
The next Upper90 mission trip to Honduras is scheduled for Spring 2018. SLSG will be collecting more new and gently used soccer shoes at the upcoming Turkey Bowl event on November 25th and throughout the year for that trip. Thanks to all those who donated shoes and equipment!