Meet Lindsay Keare, a winter volunteer with Fútbol Sin Fronteras Granada! Lindsay studies Government and Spanish and plays on the club soccer team at Dartmouth College. She spent her winter quarter in Nicaragua, co-coaching Sweet Lake, FSF’s oldest team.
In this interview, Lindsay reflects on what attracted her to FSF and what she learned through her coaching experiences.
1. How did you decide to volunteer with FSF?
FSF has a lot of connections to my school, Dartmouth College. I play club soccer at Dartmouth and my former teammate, Collin Burks, had been a Team Leader with Fútbol Sin Fronteras in 2013-2014. I reached out to Collin to ask her more about her experiences — she loved it! — and I also religiously read the website and press coverage of the organization. I then got in touch with FSF Executive Director, Mary, and everything she told me about the program made me more eager to volunteer. I'm so glad it all worked out!
2. Did your expectations of FSF Granada and living in Nicaragua match your reality when you arrived?
I think the reality of the country was pretty similar to what I imagined, and I was fortunate to be able to travel while I was there and see different parts of the country, too. There were such diverse landscapes and the notion of the "Ring of Fire" is so true there -- I was amazed by the number of volcanoes! I love how vibrant and happening the streets are, too — it was normal to see horses, bikes, motorcycles, fruit sellers, ice cream vendors, and people of all ages passing in front of the FSF office in the span of a few minutes!
In terms of FSF itself, the program far exceeded anything I could have dreamed. I have worked with girls in the U.S. who are the same ages as FSF participants, and it's even clearer to me now how similar kids all around the world are. I also loved hearing stories about "the early days" of FSF — things like how the field had to be cleared with machetes and how staff used to squeeze dozens of people into the tiny old office for activities. It's so cool to see how far the program has come in only a few years!
3. What was your favorite moment with FSF?
Some of my favorite things included simply chatting with the girls on my team outside on the porch and walking to and from practice. I learned so much about the girls’ lives and their aspirations from these chats as well as a lot more about Nicaraguan culture. Perhaps the best moment, however, was the day after we had a session in the office, Tres Pisos, about soccer tactics. A girl on my team told me the session inspired her to get even better at soccer so she can pass down what she's learned to be a role model to the younger girls. I love seeing the camaraderie among all the teams in FSF and how they all get along with one another. I don't think there are many other programs besides FSF that offer this type of support system for girls in Nicaragua!