Current players

Published on August 25th, 2015 | by Staples Soccer


Aidan Wisher Serves In Ghana

Aidan Wisher, a senior, is a very fast midfielder in the Staples soccer program. This summer he spent 2 weeks in Ghana, as part of a soccer service trip. Here is his report:

This summer I was lucky enough to participate in a program called Projects Abroad. They place high school students around the world, in dozens of programs. I chose a soccer coaching program in Ghana, at a local club.

I would be staying in Accra, the capital. Soccer is Ghana’s national sport. They lost in the final of this year’s Africa Cup of Nations and played in the 2014 World Cup (lost 2-1 to USA), so they are good. I was really excited to go.

I knew before leaving that it would be extremely hot. I expected the sun to beat down on me, and to come back with a tan. I thought we would play on dirt fields, where the grass had completely worn away. I expected the players to be really skillful and very technical, and passionate about playing. I also expected to learn how living in Africa is so different from home.

What struck me the most after landing in Accra was the humidity. Yes, it was hot, but the sun was almost always covered by clouds. I could not stop sweating.

We got off the plane, and the very first thing we saw was a woman carrying a crate full of bottled water on her head. People seem to carry everything on their heads.

We were taken to the foster house that I would stay in, with 12 others. During the drive, we were inches away from an accident every 20 seconds. It seemed as if there were no driving rules — no stop signs, no policemen, no one being polite on the roads. However, we arrived safely and settled in.

Our family was really nice and welcoming, and so pleased to have us staying, even though there were so many of us. What surprised me next was the electricity situation. Waking in the morning, we never knew if we had power or not. We went 3 days with no electricity, then 1 with it, then another 2 without. I take for granted that power is available all the time, but I soon learned that it is a luxury.

Something else I take for granted is water. The directors of Projects Abroad warned us about the water in Ghana, and said that tap water was never to be used. Brushing my teeth and shaving with bottled water was difficult, because I didn’t want to waste too much of the precious resource.

The fields on which we trained and played were as I had thought, and more. They were nothing but dirt, rock-hard mud, and pebbles littering the surface. Slide tackling was not an option on this field. Falling could not have hurt more.

The age group I was assigned to coach was U-13. However, age grouping seemed a bit random. The youngest boy I coached was “3 years old.” He had the biggest smile I have ever seen. The oldest was “12.” I put quotation marks around the ages because I learned from the head coach I must usually add 3 or 4 years to get their true age. In the end, I found that the captain of my team was 16, and the youngest on my team was actually 6. They do this so they can all play. If they don’t make their age group’s team they say they are younger, so they get to play on another team.

We ended our time coaching with an inter-club tournament, which my team won on a penalty shootout. It was great to see the smiles on their faces and the happiness that playing brings to them. I also now know how nerve-racking it is to coach in a competition.

I had a great time. I loved the place and the kids. To all those who are on the fence about taking a trip abroad, I would highly recommend it. Even if it is not to coach soccer, the experiences you have will change your view on how fortunate we are. If anybody has any questions about my trip or would like to learn more about my experience, feel free to contact me:

A soccer scene in Ghana. (Photo/Aidan Wisher)


Life off the soccer field. (Photo/Aidan Wisher)


Aidan Wisher in action for Staples. (Photo/Kim Lake)





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