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Friday, May 1, 2015

DC SCORES coach's journal, Part VII: A visit to Georgetown

Zachary Gomes moved to Washington, DC, last August from Albany, NY, to begin working at DC SCORES as a Coach Across America AmeriCorps volunteer. Zach has a passion for working with youth, and as part of his time with DC SCORES is coaching poetry, service-learning and girls soccer at Lincoln Middle School. Throughout the year Zach will share his experiences, providing insight on the impact of DC SCORES -- through the eyes of a coach.

View the full photo album from Lincoln's visit to Georgetown on Flickr HERE


Written by Zachary Gomes
Soccer Coordinator

This past Tuesday, some of the Lincoln Knights, Coach Popsie (the boys coach) and I were lucky enough to visit Georgetown University. One of DC SCORES’ amazing interns, Liselot - a student-athlete at Georgetown herself – organized a fun-filled afternoon for the kids complete with a tour of the campus and a soccer clinic run by some of the players from the men’s and women’s varsity soccer teams … and I almost forgot ... it all ended with lots of pizza!

The kids, Coach Popsie and I left school in Columbia Heights at around 3 pm and took a city bus to Dupont Circle. From the circle, we hopped onto a commuter bus that brought us right to the heart of Georgetown’s campus. Liselot and her friend Daphne, who plays on the women’s varsity soccer team, were waiting for us when we arrived. And so the tour began.

Liselot asked the kids if any of them had ever been to Georgetown. To every adult’s surprise, almost all the kids had! I panicked a bit. In my head, I was sure the kids that had already been here would get bored quick and start asking the dreaded question, “Is this almost over?? Can we go home now??”

But I was mistaken, as Liselot’s tour proved to be a lot cooler than the last one the kids had taken. Liselot was full of interesting facts and stories about Georgetown’s campus and history. She showed the kids the varsity soccer field and explained how Messi had practiced on it a few weeks ago while the Argentine national team prepared for a game in DC against El Salvador.

She brought the kids into Healy Hall, a building which closely resembles something out of either the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter books and is one of the oldest buildings on campus. She showed the kids a famous step that has been stood on for commencement ceremonies or speeches by 14 presidents spanning George Washington to President Obama.

By the end of the tour, all of the middle school kids knew what the word sophomore meant and had received an in-depth view of a student’s life on campus. But the day wasn’t over yet.


Liselot led the group to Georgetown’s multi-purpose field. Now it was time to have some real fun! As the kids walked out onto the huge turf surface in the middle of Georgetown’s campus, they were met by five women and two men from the Georgetown varsity soccer program.

The Georgetown players were great and really made the kids feel comfortable from the beginning. Austin Martz, a senior at Georgetown, led the kids in a warm up session and got them stretched out. After splitting up into two teams and doing some team chats, the scrimmaging began.

Halfway through the scrimmage, the kids took a quick break and partook in a shooting drill. Coach Popsie played keeper and was pretty hard to score on. I think Gabriel T., a seventh-grader, was the only one to score. After soccer, everyone sat in the stands and ate pizza together. The kids asked the Georgetown players questions.

“How hard did you have to practice to get on the team?”

“What’s the hardest thing about playing sports in college?”

“What do you guys eat?”

“Who’s your favorite soccer player?”

The Georgetown student-athletes were super friendly and answered all the questions really well. Their answers summed up? Time-management and hard work are the ingredients to making it as a college athlete. After kids consumed the last few morsels of pizza, we headed back to the bus. It had been a wonderful afternoon. Good conversation, soccer and food. No one could ask for anything more. The kids thanked the players and Liselot and we headed back up to the Heights of Columbia and home.

I want to thank Liselot and everyone at Georgetown University who made this visit possible. Everyone was welcoming and the kids had a blast. These kinds of experiences can really stick with a child. Thank you!

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