Pittsburgh, Pa.—On the eve of Cal State LA’s NCAA Final Four match, players from the men’s soccer team took time out of a busy day to put on a soccer clinic for students at a K-12 school in downtown Pittsburgh.
The Golden Eagles ran drills Wednesday afternoon with the students at Winchester Thurston School, focusing on different aspects of the game. They brought Cal State LA’s ethic of engagement and service for the public good more than 2,400 miles to the Steel City.
As snow fell on the field, the children smiled from ear to ear as they passed soccer balls with the student-athletes and learned the value of teamwork.
“It’s cool to tell these kids to keep following their dreams, and that anything’s possible as long as you work hard,” said Arvine Esteva, a sophomore defender from Los Angeles County.
Esteva jogged onto the field with his teammates and led some defensive drills alongside players from another NCAA Final Four team, the women’s soccer squad from Grand Valley State.
After rotating through four drills, Golden Eagles assistant coach Dallas Jaussi’s voice boomed through the air, calling players toward midfield for a fun scrimmage. Spanning the width of the field, Winchester Thurston’s students battled for possession as the ball dropped between them, putting their newly learned skills into action.
“We’re proud of our student-athletes for inspiring young students and representing what it means to be a Golden Eagle,” said Cal State LA Provost and Executive Vice President Jose A. Gomez.
Before long, the scrimmage between the children and collegiate soccer players ended. But the children were having such a good time, they wanted to continue playing. They had to be encouraged by their teachers to return inside.
The experience was also meaningful for the Golden Eagles, who were glad to have the opportunity to motivate their young fellow soccer players.
“I hope we were an inspiration to them,” reflected Esteva, after walking off the pitch.
The team boarded a bus bound to Highmark Stadium, overlooking the Monongahela River. The players were scheduled to practice at the venue where Thursday’s big game will be played.
The game will begin at 2 p.m. PST and will be live-streamed by NCAA.com.
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California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 28,000 students and has more than 250,000 distinguished alumni.
Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex and the TV, Film and Media Center. For more information, visit www.CalStateLA.edu.