We have recently been trying to get our players more actively engaged in the team in ways other than just showing up to practice and playing soccer. We want them to feel ownership of the team and to gain a sense of responsibility and pride in what they are doing.
In December, the players and coaches all participated in a clean-up of the field that they use every week. The field belongs to a school and the grass often grows long without being cut and trash is regularly dumped on the field. The coaches suggested that the teams start participating in regular field clean-ups so that they learn to take care of the place where they play (and earn the good graces of the school that allows us to use their field). It was also a bonding experience as all ages of players gathered together to pitch in. As a part of our points program, players were given extra points for participating.
More pictures of the field clean-up have been posted on our photo page.
Washing of our uniforms has formerly been taken care of by our coaches or by someone hired and paid to wash them. Our head coach suggested that we start allowing the older boys to wash the uniforms and earn something in return for their work. Starting in January, the older boys have been washing the uniforms every week in order to earn a new pair of shoes to play in. Each player is credited 200 Kenya Shillings (or about $2.50 USD) every time he washes. A pair of soccer shoes costs around 800-1,000 Kenya Shillings. After about a month and a half, many of the boys have washed enough times to earn a new pair of shoes that will be given to them this week. Most of the shoes that we purchase stay at the field and are used only during practices or matches but these shoes will be special to the boys as they have put in the work to earn ownership of them. Great for the boys and great for us as our uniforms are now always clean!