Valparaiso boys soccer coach Danny Jeftich is understandably busy during his prep season, but he and his team have still found time for a local volunteer project.
The United Way's Day of Caring is an annual event celebrating volunteer projects for non-profit organizations, and the activities will take place Friday this year. The Vikings will give a free soccer clinic from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Valparaiso Boys and Girls Club.
"This is a good situation for us to give back to the community," Jeftich said. "It fits with our schedule, and it's the right thing to do."
The unranked Vikings upset Class 2A No. 16 Westfield 3-0 Saturday, but they don't have a game this weekend, allowing for the endeavor.
Jeftich plans on using Friday's event as chance to run his varsity players through an organized routine -- in lieu of a scheduled practice.
"We've planned this out," Jeftich said. "I have a lesson plan and an outline for what every player will be doing in every situation."
Every season the boys soccer program has a "Meet the Vikings" night, where local soccer youth can attend a game, win prizes and get an autograph from a player. This experience takes that event a step further.
"We're face to face with the kids -- regardless of age and whether they are experienced players or not -- and teaching them dribbling and other skills" Jeftich said. "We also will have fun along the way. It's not just about meeting players. This is about teaching moves and making it an enjoyable experience."
Christy Holford, whose son Chase is a senior captain, helped coordinate the event. Her family attends Trinity Lutheran Church, and they've taken part in many mission trips.
"It's such an important part of life to help others," Holford said. "It's good for both sides, allowing our players to give something back and see what it's like to volunteer."
Holford contacted Mackenna Dickt, volunteer coordinator for United Way of Porter County, and she set up the experience.
"It's incredible to be able to do this," Dickt said. "We found a perfect way to interact with the community and make it a good experience for the kids."
The camp is one of 61 projects in Lake and Porter counties taking place Friday as part of the event.
"It was really nice of them to reach out to us," Dickt said.
Unfortunately, it's too late to volunteer for this project. Anyone interested in future projects can call (219) 464-3583, or visit www.nwi.volunteer.org.
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