Making a difference through soccer

By Robert Riches
February 16, 2012

For many college seniors in America and abroad, a main focus is securing a job after graduation day. But for King Saah, senior graphic design major, the focus lies elsewhere.

Saah would like to make a difference in the lives of children and youth soccer players in particular.

“My biggest goal is to make a difference,” Saah said.

Saah has been involved with the world’s game for a very long time and plans on continuing his involvement.

“I’ve been playing soccer for as long as I can remember,” Saah said. “Even before coming here from Africa at the age of 6.”

After coming to the United States, Saah continued his fondness for soccer.

“I attended soccer camps with the Lower Merion Soccer Club when I was really young,” Saah said.

As Saah continued to grow older and continued to play, he associated himself with the Lower Merion Soccer Club, but in a different capacity.

“In high school, I would work as a volunteer at the Lower Merion Soccer Club with my coaches,” Saah said.

Volunteering with the Lower Merion Soccer Club helped Saah realize that he found enjoyment out of helping kids out with soccer and began working to create his own soccer clinic.

“I loved soccer and I loved to help people out,” Saah said. “This would be a way to bring two of my passions together.”

After some time, Saah’s soccer clinic was open for business. A large amount of players participated in it, and as a result, business was booming.

“The first summer that I tried it, around 40 kids participated,” Saah said. “It was a lot more than I expected.”

However, Saah proved to be more than willing to take on the challenge, and is looking to grow and expand even more.

“This upcoming summer, I’m looking to work with a max of 65 kids,” Saah said.

Saah’s clinics are free of charge for any child with an interest in the sport and he tries to help the campers out as much as possible.

“I try to teach soccer, work ethic, discipline and listening,” Saah said.

While the soccer clinics have their benefits, they have proven at times to be a difficult challenge for Saah. Running the clinics may not be an easy task for Saah to do, but as the American educator Hamilton Holt once said, “nothing worthwhile comes easy.”

One of Saah’s bigger challenges comes from the kids whom he helps out.

“One of the harder parts is trying to get the kids to do what you want them to do,” Saah said. “Most try to do whatever they want.”

Saah is presented with various other challenges, some of which can be expected to arise for a soccer clinic.

“I’ve had problems with a lot of financial issues, as well as water for the kids,” Saah said. “I’ve also had issues with picking kids up from their neighborhoods, as they live all around the area.”

While Saah has had his difficulties, he has also had some help along the way.

“My aunt has let me use her van to pick kids up sometimes,” Saah said. “And I also get help from [Cabrini senior] Steve Matthews, several former coaches on a one-day-a-week basis and Mr. and Mrs. [Edward and Angela] Rodriguez, who have been very generous.”

Saah’s soccer clinics are also a part of a long-term plan for the future.

“Right now, I’m applying to live in and teach soccer for one year in Africa,” Saah said. “I’m trying to work with Grassroot Soccer, who is focused on teaching soccer and preventing HIV. I’m looking forward to it.”

In a day and age where many people (such as former NBA player, Charles Barkley) don’t consider athletes to be role models, King Saah tries to break that mold, by mentoring one youth soccer player at a time.

“It’s my best way to give back to the community, and be a positive role model,” Saah said.

King Saah has been playing soccer since the age of six and created a soccer program to teach inner city children.

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Robert Riches

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