The Hope College men’s and women’s soccer teams are giving an assist to local youth with the help of Zeeland Family Dentistry and USA Soccer.
Every time the Flying Dutch or Flying Dutchmen play a home game at Van Andel Soccer Stadium, two USA Soccer teams are special guests at Hope.
They walk out onto the field to join Hope’s teams for the National Anthem. They receive a gift sponsored by Zeeland Family Dentistry; this year it is a blue-and-orange Hope Soccer scarfs.
Chris Hofland (’95) of USA Soccer called the partnership, which is in its fifth year, a great one that benefits local youth. He appreciates the support from Kevin Rebhan (‘84) of Zeeland Family Dentistry.
“It’s a win-win for both sides,” Hofland said. “Not only do our kids get to come and be a part of seeing the next level (of soccer), it’s something for them to see role models on the field. Our kids are on the field for pre-game. They feel that intensity. They get the whole experience they don’t experience on their Saturday morning and afternoon matches. It is a lot of fun.”
“The kids get a gift from Kevin’s business and see an alumni giving back to the program.”
It is a rewarding time for Hope’s players, Rebhan said.
Rebhan watched his daughter, Rachael (’14), take part in the program as a member of the Flying Dutch for four seasons.
“The Hope players remember being that kid once. They get a chance to remember their roots and where they came from,” Kevin Robrahn said. “Knowing it’s meaningful for the kids, they want to impart that back.”
The relationships go beyond Hope’s soccer seasons.
The Flying Dutch and Flying Dutchmen work with USA Soccer players during the USA Soccer season.
“Every June, we have Hope men’s and women’s soccer players come to our tryouts for two nights,” Hofland said. “They execute our tryouts, so our coaches can observe and evaluate players. They don’t have to worry about running drills.
“We also come here the beginning of August and have a camp. Hope soccer coaches Steven Smith and Leigh Sears put on a camp for our club. Our players not only see the Hope players on the field, they get to interact with them. Hope kids are just fantastic. The relationships they build with our kids are great.”