UNC Asheville women's soccer players -Hannah Jeske and Gina Beer - enjoyed the opportunity of a lifetime in January before coming back to school for spring semester.
The duo was a part of a group of women's collegiate soccer players from throughout the country who participated in Soccer Without Borders. The organization sends soccer players to other countries to help spread the sport of soccer.
Jeske and Beer went to the town of Granada, Nicaragua, a town along with the western coast of the Central American country. It has a population of more than 100,000 people. Hannah and Gina stayed with a family in Granada and then got a chance to teach soccer for more than a week.
"We worked with young girls, ages 5-11 each day and worked with them on their skills," stated Jeske. "Gina and I would work with about 25 girls each day and it was a lot of fun. "
"It was a great experience for both of us," added Beer. "We'd have breakfast with our host family at 8 a.m. and then walk to the soccer fields at about 9:30. The two of would work with the girls for about two hours.
"These were girls who didn't know much about soccer until we had the chance to work with them," Beer also said. "It was a lot of fun seeing them improve each day and also see how much fun they were having."
Hannah also enjoyed the experience.
"Everything went so smoothly with the young girls in teaching them about soccer," explained Jeske. "It was so exciting for us to see how excited the girls would get when they would start playing and learning.
"These are girls who wouldn't get the opportunity to play soccer like we do in the United States," added Jeske. "Being with these girls makes you realize how lucky we are to live here."
Both Beer and Jeske didn't speak a lot of Spanish but the sport of soccer translates to all languages.
"I know basic, basic Spanish and Gina knows a little more than I do," stated Jeske. "But that didn't seem to matter. The girls knew what we were doing and trying to each them."
Besides teaching soccer to an eager group of young girls, there was another plus to the trip to Granada - the weather. While the rest of us were dealing with snow and freezing temperatures in Asheville in January, the weather in Granada was a little nicer.
"Oh it was pretty nice," smiled Beer. "It was in the low 80's each day. Needless to say, we didn't think much about snow. It was a little different weather in January than what I'm used to."
Both Gina and Hannah enjoyed the experience tremendously.
"We'd love to go back. The people were very nice and it was the experience of a lifetime," stated Jeske.
"You can't put into words just how much fun we had," explained Beer. "To see the joy on the faces of those girls is something I'll never forget."