I believe that soccer unites people all around the world. It skips racial boundaries, economical disparities, and language barriers. The ball doesn’t care where you are from or how old you are. All that matters is enjoying the beautiful game named “soccer.” Here I am, in my very last semester of undergraduate studies. I was fortunate enough to be part of many exciting diabetes camps, presentations, workshops, and other events in Germany, but I never really had the opportunity to impact the American diabetes community. Until last summer, when the Team Type 1 Foundation made me one of their global ambassadors. Together, we are fighting diabetes and its consequences, promoting the importance of regular exercise as a therapy-supporting measure. Competitive college and professional athletes like I are spreading the word. And two weeks ago, I finally had the chance to support local type 1 diabetic kids.
Thanks to the help of some of my teammates, coaches, and SJSU Spartan administrators, and with great assistance from Karen (of the American Diabetes Association), Tamar (from CarbDM), and from the TT1, we put together a soccer clinic for 5 to 15-year-old kids, their families and friends. A quick “welcome,” collective blood sugar tests (very important before, during, and after any type of exercise), and then we went right into action: warm-up, drills, and a scrimmage at the end – the full program; just like we college players do it in our practice sessions. As a little bonus, each kid got to shoot a penalty on me. And what can I tell you?! I don’t think I saved any of them. We saw some great skills and extraordinary talent, and I’m sure some of the kids will someday become a college soccer player themselves. I can’t wait to see them succeed and make their dreams come true. After all, diabetes is not a story of disabilities; it’s a story of abilities!
I’m looking forward to my next soccer clinic, which will hopefully take place before I go home to Germany of summer break. But even if not, I will definitely see YOU at the kick-off event for the 25th ADA Silicon Valley Tour de Cure, on June 12 at the HP Campus in Palo Alto!