APRIL 12, 2012
by Mackenzie Fanaro ’14, Contributing Writer
Furman men’s soccer coach Doug Allison has led the Paladins to Southern Conference titles and groomed players for professional careers.
But on Friday, Allison will not be scouting for talent.
“Never will you see such bad soccer for such a good cause,” said Allison.
The third annual Soccer Extravaganza takes place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday at Stone Field. Furman students, staff, faculty, and president Rod Smolla will participate in the fundraising event.
The Soccer Extravaganza will be held in conjunction with the student-sponsored WaterWalk that seeks to raise awareness and collect donations to help combat the global water crisis. Students will carry a container of water for one mile to symbolize the trek that people of Esperanza San Antonio, Guatemala, make multiple times a day to bring water to their families.
The proceeds from the WaterWalk and the Soccer Extravaganza will help fund Furman’s project to make potable water readily accessible for the people of Esperanza San Antonio.
In 2010, the first Soccer Extravaganza raised money for earthquake victims in Haiti. The effects of the earthquake were felt around the globe, but for Allison and the men’s soccer team, the tragedy hit even closer to home.
Paladin soccer player Fabien Vorbe left his home in Haiti a few days prior to the earthquake. It took days before he found out his family survived, but he lost many friends as well as his home.
Allison and the men’s soccer team organized an all-day soccer marathon to raise funds for the earthquake victims. The support extended beyond Vorbe’s soccer family; the Furman community stepped up as well. Students, faculty and staff came together to raise $15,615.
In 2011 Allison and his team turned their attention to Japan. They hosted another successful event and donated thousands to relief efforts for tsunami victims.
Fortunately, 2012 has yet to bring another natural disaster, but Nancy Cooper, who works alongside Allison in organizing the festivities, saw that as no reason to keep from hosting another event.
“Let’s not wait for a disaster,” said Cooper, University Center Coordinator for Volunteer Services.
By supporting the WaterWalk, Furman will help the student group Global Issues Forum move closer to its goal of matching the $12,500 grant from the Duke Endowment that was given to help jumpstart the water initiative in Guatemala.
Furman University International Students Association (FUISA) will be offering an array of ethnic foods for a small donation, and ARAMARK will be on hand with the Paladog cart. Shirts can be purchased for $10 at the front of the soccer stadium.
President Smolla will give a speech about the WaterWalk after participating in the highly anticipated faculty and staff game that begins at 12:30 p.m.
Not surprisingly, this game is always a favorite among students.
“It’s not every day you can shout at your professor and watch them fall over. You’ll get a kick out of it—literally,” said Allison.