Cheers heard from the Charlotte Eagles are usually reserved for scoring goals. But this past Wednesday, the Men’s and Women’s Eagles teams were nowhere near a soccer pitch. Instead, the cheers were for the completion of construction work. The team spent seven hours cutting boards & plywood, nailing drywall, and building a roof.
Both Eagle squads joined forces to do something more than just train for their upcoming weekend matches: they focused their efforts into helping Habitat for Humanity construct two homes near the Lakewood neighborhood in northwestern Charlotte.
“We wanted to make sure we had a few service opportunities during the season;” said Dave Dixon, head coach of the men’s team, “a chance to give back.”
Midfielder Scout Monteith appreciated the opportunity to participate in something bigger than himself. “When you’re around the team, you’re focused on soccer,” he said, “but that’s what’s great about this organization – is that you get to give back.”
“Soccer’s pretty serious for us,” agreed defenseman Josh Kremers, “but it’s fun to take on a project that affects other people’s lives.”
There were some, including Kremers, who were familiar with the materials and tools required for construction prior to their day of service. He was involved in constructing the attic of one of the homes, particularly in the preparation and cutting of boards prior to installation. Due to his experience helping his father construct a deck, he was able to impart wisdom into some of his teammates. “I naturally like to take charge in stuff like that,” he said, “and then let the others give it a try.”
One of his apprentices was Lady Eagle goalkeeper Chloe Buehler who has never used a hammer, much less a power tool. She was prone to saying “so cool” after using the chop saw, but was quick to recognize that there was more going on than her learning how to cut and nail a 2×6. “I think it’s good to be out here sacrificing our day to help others,” she said. “It puts things in perspective to realize how fortunate we are.”
Midfielder Alex Brandt, another home building rookie, spent her day cutting and nailing drywall. At first, she and some of her Lady Eagle teammates were worried they would not be able to carry the pieces of sheetrock and thought they would need some help from the men’s team. After being taught the proper way to carry the materials however, she and her crew were able to overcome this obstacle and were able to complete the living room walls without any help.
Although it was not the focus of the outing, both teams were able to learn more about their teammates through the experience. “Any time you can do something together off the field,” said Coach Dixon, “the better for chemistry and communication.”
“It was a good way to get to know each other in a different environment, where personality traits come out in different ways” agreed Brandt.
Both Eagle squads strive to achieve more for their city than just winning a soccer championship, hopefully with a few more cheers along the way.