2010-07-17 Holland Sentinel "DaMarcus Beasley gives surprise visit to migrant soccer camp"

DaMarcus Beasley gives surprise visit to migrant soccer camp
The Holland Sentinel

Holland, MI —

Three event highlights

1 Children from two migrant soccer programs run through the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance got a surprise of a lifetime Thursday. The kids were told there was a surprise, but they figured it was food or T-shirts. They had no idea three-time World Cup player DaMarcus Beasley would show up at their camp. And when he came to one of the Holland-area migrant camps, the kids went wild with excitement.

2 Beasley gave the 20 participants T-shirts and then signed them all. Campers and parents took tons of pictures. Beasley spent much of the time bonding with the kids, who share his love for soccer. Beasley ran his own soccer camp at West Ottawa’s soccer complex earlier in the day, but said he understands not everyone can afford a camp. “(In soccer) we are all equal, and I feel that,” he said.

3 Beasley, who has scored 17 goals for the U.S. national team over the years, joined one of the migrant camp teams in a game against another camp. Both sides cheered when he scored. Rodrigo De Grau, the soccer camp coach, said, “Today he scored one to help his team win, but most importantly he scored smiles with all the kids, something he’ll always remember.”

Overheard at the event Different languages, different countries, different styles of soccer — that’s what makes our game beautiful. Coming to the World Cup, that’s when you see everything live. That’s when the beautiful game comes to life. ... On the field you make beautiful music together.” — DaMarcus Beasley, World Cup player

“Oh my goodness, it was amazing. The kids had no idea that DaMarcus was going to come. They were just shocked. They were in awe. We thought he would just stay for a half hour or so, but he agreed to play with one of the teams. We couldn’t have asked for better.”
— Rodrigo De Grau, migrant soccer camp coach

Anyone interested in volunteering with the migrant soccer program is encouraged to visit www.ethnicdiversity.org or call (616) 846-9074.