Right to Play Barefoot Soccer Game

            Imagine running around barefoot and trying to play soccer, a game that revolves around kicking a ball. Imagine the pain on the bottom of your feet from the harsh ground you play on or the sting on your skin that would come from kicking the ball.

            For kids in underprivileged countries, this is a reality. This is how they play soccer – with no shoes.

            Castleton State College’s Right To Play club created an opportunity for some students to experience this. On Sunday, Apr. 28, the club held a barefoot soccer game in Spartan Stadium to raise money and awareness for the foundation that helps support children in third world countries have an opportunity for a better life and a chance to play sports.

            “We did it to get a feel for how they stay active,” said senior Dan Bell, who helped organize this year’s event. “We did it to get the perspective of the kids we raised money for-underprivileged kids who can’t afford to buy shoes.”

            He said it was “rougher on the feet than he thought” and he’s still nursing some blisters on his toes, but overall it was worth it.

All 25 participants were required to raise at least $100 and in total, the club ended up raising just over $3,000 for the foundation. 

            The participants were split into two teams, white and black, to represent two of the Right To Play foundation’s colors. The other two colors, red and yellow were used in last year’s dodge ball marathon event.

            This year, the event was opened up to the entire campus, not just limited to athletes. With a final score of 9-6, the white team prevailed to win over the black team. However, both teams had leading scorers with four goals each from Dan Bell on the black team and Lance Garrett on the white team.

            “I thought the event went very well,” said senior Corrie Keener, another member of Right To Play. “I hope the club stays alive and continues to raise money for the foundation once we all leave.”

            This year’s even coordinators, Keener, Bell and Brett Zeggil think the club will keep going. They would like to see a different event each year to change it up and keep things interesting.

            “I want to do this next year,” said sophomore Kelsey McDonald, a participant in this year’s soccer game. “It’s important for us to keep it going, even after Brett, Corrie and Dan graduate.”

            Last year’s event was the first for the Right To Play club on campus and a huge success. Headed by former ice hockey player Lindsey Gullett, the club raised over $7,300 for the foundation. They also broke the world record for the longest dodge ball game, though that record was just broken again this past March.

            As upsetting as it is to hear for all those athletes who participated and helped coordinate last year’s event, they still see the big picture. They know they raise funds and awareness for a foundation that helps underprivileged kids all around the world.

            “We did it for the kids, we didn’t do it just for the record,” Bell said. “Though we do still have the record in my eyes.”



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