WHEELING, WV, Sept. 6, 2007 - Several college students took the initiative
recently to support the international nature of soccer by locating and
sending uniforms and equipment to fellow soccer players in Africa.
Justin Forzano, a current undergraduate at the University of Dayton studying
civil engineering, became aware of the need for soccer equipment while
spending time in the summer of 2006 working in Cameroon, a developing
country located in central West Africa, along the Gulf of Guinea.
“Justin is good friends with my two boys, Kyle and Brandon, and together
they have a love for soccer. Justin mentioned that the village were he was
working had a soccer team and played with old shoes, uniforms and
equipment,” explained Jim Regan, Wheeling Jesuit University men's soccer
coach. “The boys approached me about old equipment we had laying around,
asking if we could donate it to the cause. So I sent over old Cardinal
uniforms we had in storage. Needless to say they went to a worthy cause.”
Kyle and Brandon Regan are both seniors at Wheeling Jesuit and play soccer
on the nationally ranked Cardinal team. Their dad coaches them and is
pleased that the soccer players wanted to help out their Cameroon soccer
Regan has a long history of international recruiting and competition, and
has headed up the Cardinals for 25 seasons.
Forzano was in Cameroon as a part of the University of Dayton ETHOS Program,
which stands for “Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities for
Service-learning.” While he was there, he contributed to studying and
constructing water supply schemes in remote areas, when he discovered that
local teams were too poor to acquire safe and necessary equipment. Formerly
a soccer player himself at Wheeling Park High School, Forzano was very
interested in addressing this problem and described his experience to Coach
Regan, his neighbor in the North Park community of Wheeling. He was hoping
that Regan might have contacts that could help.
Coach Regan was happy to help out and gathered WJU gear to send to Cameroon
in the summer of 2007. Wheeling Central Catholic High School head men's
soccer coach Lou Vargo, heard about these efforts and decided that the
Maroon Knights could also help. Through an appeal to the school and to team
parents, Wheeling Central Catholic will also be sending equipment to
“The reaction from Coach Regan, WJU, Central High School, and the entire
Ohio Valley community is extremely exciting. The impact of doing something
like this is impossible to quantify, and hopefully this is just the
beginning,” Forzano commented.
The soccer equipment for Africa drive will also be part of the upcoming
Bishop's Cup Soccer Tournament, which will be held at Wheeling Jesuit
University, September 14-15. The tournament will result in the W.Va. state
catholic high school men's and women's soccer champion. Vargo encourages
other teams participating in the Bishops Cup to donate new or used equipment
including shoes, balls, shin guards, and uniforms for use in Cameroon.
“This is what sports should be about. Wheeling Jesuit has a long tradition
of soccer excellence and engagement with the world community and with
service. We are happy to be a part of Justin's plan to help his friends in
need,” said Regan.
For more information on the soccer equipment for Africa drive at Wheeling
Jesuit or for information on the Bishop's Cup Tournament, please contact the
Cardinal athletic office at (304) 243-2053 or Coach Regan at (304) 243-2314.