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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Volunteer Spotlight: Blake Lindsay, soccer coach at Seaton Elementary School

Next Monday, DC SCORES programming at 45 elementary and middle school students begins throughout the District. It would be impossible to give 1,500 kids the quality programming they receive without the help of our volunteers. This month we highlight Blake Lindsay, who has volunteered his time the last two seasons as an assistant soccer coach at Seaton Elementary School. Blake will continue coaching this spring. Don't wait to join our incredibly fun and growing contingent of volunteers. Find the right opportunity for you and your schedule HERE. And read about Blake's experience below.

Written by Josh Freedholm
Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator


DCS: Where are you from and where do you work?

I was born and raised in Seattle, WA.

I am a foreign policy analyst with a Master's degree in U.S. National Security Policy from Georgetown, but I am currently in search of career opportunities.

DCS: How long have you been playing soccer?

I started playing competitive soccer for the Mavericks of the McGilvra Youth Soccer Club when I was 6 years old, so 27 years, but I began playing soccer in the yard with my brothers much earlier. Beginning in middle school I was often playing on club, school, and indoor soccer teams at the same time. I don't know how my mom managed the logistics with three competitive boys, but she deserves a medal. I played three years of high school varsity soccer for the Bush School Blazers and captained the team to the Washington state 1-A quarterfinals in 1999. I am currently captain of Lincoln's Left Foot, a co-ed soccer team I started in the summer of 2006.

DCS: How did you get involved with DC SCORES?

I was looking for a rewarding avenue for volunteer work in the community and I came across a link to DC SCORES on the website of District Sports. I decided to attend a High Five Tour and I was blown away. I signed up to become a DC SCORES soccer coach that same day.

DCS: What do you find most interesting about DC SCORES?

I think the DC SCORES model of using soccer, self-expression, and service-learning to facilitate development is very innovative and powerful. Soccer is a powerful hook for children: the joy of playing needs no further explanation for kids. But the beauty of development through soccer is that the values of the game are the values of community: teamwork, fair play, equality, self-sacrifice, acceptance and hard work. I have been humbled by the tremendous community support for our team at Seaton and impressed by the sophisticated ways that DC SCORES leverages that engagement to facilitate self-expression and service action.

DCS: Describe your experience volunteering for DC SCORES.

As a soccer coach for DC SCORES I am responsible for 28 fourth- and fifth-graders for an hour and a half, three times a week. I had never worked with kids before, so at first the challenge of keeping so many kids engaged was very daunting. But with the guidance of my teacher-coach colleagues, I got the hang of it and seeing my kids progress as individuals and as a team has been tremendously rewarding. This last season we had a turning point when the boys squad was down 0-1 in the second half. The whole team rallied behind them and they came storming back to win. I was so proud to see them come together as a group to deal with adversity. They are such great kids.

DCS: What do you like to do with your free time?

I like to play soccer, ski, hike and cook.

DCS: Who is your favorite athlete?

Landon Donovan, but Edgar Martinez is a close second.

DCS: One fun fact about you?

I am an Eagle Scout. That may not sound fun, but it was a blast. My father, my brother, and I belonged to a very active and adventurous scout troop in Seattle. Every summer we would organize an expedition backpacking or kayaking trip of 50-100 miles through the remote and breathtaking terrain of the Pacific Northwest. We even summited Mt. Baker. I am still animated by the pull of those wild places.

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