Bill Turford still remembers the day when he and his friends were surrounded by nepali children eager to play soccer with them. The experience assured him of one thing that soccer s a universal sport. The Stratford resident along with his wife Barb, their son-in-law Bjorn Schmitz, and his friends Brian Domnar and Vasible Iacoban, are coming back to Nepal to help set up soccer clinics in communities of Nepal.
While the group members all share a love of soccer and teaching youth, Turford said Iacoban brings a special set of gifts to the trip. He’s a former pro-level soccer goaltender from his native Romania. The group will work in partnership with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) representatives in Nepal, who are gathering up soccer equipment in advance of the Turfords’ visit.
“I want to give some of those kids just a chance to get involved in something that’s organized,” Turford said, noting that many residents are still dealing with the after-effects of last year’s devastating earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people.
“The idea is not only to offer clinics to Nepalese youth over the next few weeks, but to establish a network of training that can reach into the country’s smaller rural areas in future, as well. The emphasis will be on participation and development, he said.
“They’re all fun activities,” he explained. “We’re not trying to make soccer heroes out of them.”
They are planning to organize the clinics in three centers, including lake city Pokhara. During their two week effort, the Canadians will share their instructional methods with YWAM representatives.
“That’s the whole idea,” said Barb, “to help train the folks that are already there to run camps and clinics, all with different stations where they’ll work on skills. Then when we’re gone, they just keep running with it.”
Before heading home, the Turfords also plan to visit family living in Nepal: their son Aaron, his wife Rebecca and the couple’s 10-month-old son David.
It won’t be the first overseas effort for the Turfords. Bill, for instance, has been on humanitarian trips to Serbia, Macedonia, India and Nepal in the past.