For 12 days in May, the F&M men’s soccer team traveled through South Africa on a journey combining leadership education, sport and civic engagement. The adventure marked the latest chapter in F&M’s evolving presence in Cape Town through the Soccer Africa project, founded in 2006 by Diplomat head coach Dan Wagner to connect the College to Khayelitsha Township using the international language of soccer.
The trip offered F&M players, coaches and several family members lessons on the leadership of former South African President Nelson Mandela, with a focus on his life at the Robben Island prison where he was held for 18 years. The group also visited the District Six Museum, a memorial to the forced movement of 60,000 inhabitants out of the Cape Town area during the height of apartheid.
At the heart of the team’s journey was Chris Campbell Memorial Field in Khayelitsha, a turf field and education center constructed in 2009 to honor the memory of F&M soccer standout Chris Campbell, who passed away before his senior season. The F&M players led a range of educational activities for children at the field, which lies at the center of a poverty-stricken township. The men’s soccer team organized the trip in collaboration with F&M’s Ware Institute for Civic Engagement, CTC Ten Foundation (founded by the Campbell family to promote the education and personal development of disadvantaged youth), and Amandla Edufootball (which oversees programs at Chris Campbell Field).
To view highlights of the team’s journey, visit go.fandm.edu/soccer-africa.