Dukes donate soccer balls: Women’s manager leads the charge

Courtesy Photo
Courtesy Photo

Addison Smith | Sports Editor

Recently a Duquesne organization entitled PureThirst went to Honduras over spring break to install water filters. With that, they also brought down soccer balls donated by the men’s and women’s soccer teams. Eric Balaash, manager of the women’s soccer team, sat down with The Duke to talk about the idea and the execution.

AS: How did the idea to donate the soccer balls come along?

EB: I was taking an environmental class with Matt Burnett and we got talking and he found out that I managed the women’s team. He talked to me about the Honduras trip … He said that during the day they do all their stuff with the water, but he said at night they’d have some free time with the kids. He said sometimes they play soccer. He said they just don’t have a lot of soccer balls there, so he came to me to see if we could donate any and if the guys’ teams could donate and I told him I would look into it and that’s how we got the idea.

AS: What steps did you take to get this process in motion?

EB: First I asked our coaches and then I asked the men’s coaches and both of them said they would like to donate, but then after that I had to go through compliance … and make sure everything was okay because there are so many different NCAA rules. Once we got the go with that I talked to all the girls and they went home for Christmas break and brought back some of their soccer balls from home. Then our team donated a bunch and the guys donated a bunch.

AS: Was it mostly the teams? Or was it mostly the coaches?

EB: Since it was our first year getting started, it was mostly me that started the initiative with the girls. Then our coaches, we went through all the soccer balls that we had and were able to look at the ones we were able to donate. Then the girls did bring some of their personal soccer balls.