A Rewarding Winter Break


Dec. 23, 2014


Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.


IOWA CITY, Iowa — Winter break 2014 will provide University of Iowa sophomores Corey Burns and Amanda Lulek a new, rewarding experience.

The UI soccer student-athletes will travel to Granada, Nicaragua, to serve as camp counselors with Soccer Without Borders from Jan. 10-18, 2015. The organization uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing under-served youth with a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success.


“We will coach soccer, but will also focus on team-building and empowering girls to thinking they can play because (in their culture) they aren’t encouraged to do so,” said Lulek. “We will also provide tutoring and an overall escape for the girls. We will help them in any way we can.”

Burns and Lulek first learned about the opportunity via email from UI head coach Dave DiIanni this fall. They floated the idea to their parents and began the process of learning more.

“I haven’t really asked to do anything like this, so (my parents) were thrown off by it,” said Lulek of their reaction. “They asked a lot of questions, but as I answered more and more of them, they were on board. They’re excited about this opportunity.”

While on the trip, Burns and Lulek will be immersed in the Nicaraguan culture in Grenada, a city of 123,000 in western Nicaragua in Central America.

“I am looking forward to staying with the host families and learning about their culture,” said Lulek. “I am excited to meet the girls and see what we can do to help them and get them excited about soccer.”

Burns is thankful for the opportunity to go and make a small difference.

“I am excited for the experience we’ll get out of it,” said Burns. “Like what it will mean to the girls in the camp and the relationships will make with the other counselors and the campers.

“We’ll see how little they have and the joy of seeing them play the game. I think it will show us we have a lot and we need to appreciate everything we’re fortunate to have.”

Burns knows it isn’t a typical winter break, but believes it will be worthwhile.

“I have always wanted to do something like this, but I didn’t know how to go about it,” said Burns. “It has been difficult to find time and the right opportunity, until this one presented itself.”

For more information on Soccer Without Borders, visit www.soccerwithoutborders.org/.

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