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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

DC SCORES students enjoy tour of Volkswagen, soccer clinic run by D.C. United

-- Written by Yael Kiken, Elementary School Program Coordinator

Last Friday, three DC SCORES teams piled onto a bus for an unusual field trip.

With no school because of a Professional Development day for teachers, 60 poet-athletes headed to Herndon, VA. Volkswagen, a longtime supporter of DC SCORES through our adopt-a-school program, invited the students to spend the afternoon at their headquarters.

After the hour-long ride out of DC, students, coaches, and parents from Tubman, Thomson, and Lincoln walked through the huge glass doors of Volkswagen. Everyone was divided into small groups and taken on tours of the facilities.

The DC SCORES students got to see several kinds of cars—from popular ones (“My mom has that one!” one student eagerly told his tour guide), to older models, to modern, specialized vehicles. It was hard for students to resist touching the smooth paint and sliding into the clean leather seats.

One VW employee obliged with a laugh, allowing the students to pile into the cars. The students pretended they were driving on the open road: one student was a racer; one was a car salesperson taking prospective buyers on a ride; one was a parent dropping kids off at soccer practice.

After the tour, everyone headed out into the parking lot for a special surprise: members of D.C. United (also sponsored by Volkswagen) were waiting with balls, pinnies, and goals. The 60 students participated in a soccer clinic, excitedly moving through different stations.

At one station, students did dribbling drills; at another, students ran through a small obstacle course and practiced heading the ball; at third and fourth stations, teams had soccer scrimmages. This gave students an opportunity to practice their soccer skills with professional players.

Toward the end of the clinic, Glory, the eagle mascot of Women's Professional Soccer's Washington Freedom, made a guest appearance.

Upon completing the clinic (and gulping down some water), everyone gathered around the professional players and had the opportunity to ask them several questions about being athletes:

“Who taught you how to play soccer?”
“How do you feel before your game?”
“Can I have a ball?”

The whole group of soccer players—students and professional alike—then smiled for a photo. Before leaving, the students received soccer gear and prizes from Volkswagen. These included bags, water bottles, keychains, and signed posters of D.C. United players. Students waved goodbye to the players and got back on the bus—but not before thanking the Volkswagen employees.

After such a full afternoon, everyone was (happily) exhausted on the ride back. DC SCORES students—who may have otherwise had to spend the day at home—got to connect with students from other schools, train with professional athletes, and learn from an important supporter of DC SCORES.

“My favorite part was playing with the professional players,” one student said. “They helped us and prompted us with our soccer skills.”

The extra practice didn’t hurt either. Each of the three teams has a game this week; and though they won’t be traveling there in specialized Beetles, they now know that VW is behind them.

See more photos from the field trip on our Flickr page or Facebook.

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