SEPTEMBER 29, 2010

Soccer Athlete Steps Away From Campus to Intern with Soccer Without Borders
Tartans Athletics, September 29, 2010

Ava MurpheyThe Carnegie Mellon women’s soccer team will have a huge fan in Guatemala this fall, as junior Ava Murphey will spend the year in Central America as an intern for Soccer Without Borders. Murphey, who played in all 16 games for the Tartans as a sophomore last fall, is hopeful that the game she grew up with can help make things easier for Guatemala’s children.

“I wanted to do something outside of the academic institution and figured I would follow my interest in soccer. This is a great way to volunteer and help with another community,” Murphey said. “I think it will be a good change for me to do work that helps others. I’d like to pass on what soccer has taught me.”

Murphey picked up the game of soccer when she was 6-years-old and can’t remember being without a ball at her feet. She has always seen soccer as a sport that brings people together and believes her involvement in Soccer Without Borders can do that for others.

“I’ve learned so many things because of soccer – about teamwork and working with others. It’s been a constant in my life and I don’t know what my life would be like without soccer,” Murphey said. “I’d love to bring soccer to another community of kids. It’s a unifying game and teaches positive lessons. It’s taught me about passion and I’d like to see that in the faces of other people.”

First-year Carnegie Mellon women’s soccer coach Yon Struble had a chance to see Murphey play during the spring season and was impressed with her abilities on the field. Although he will miss her presence this fall, Struble is excited for the opportunity Murphey will receive in Guatemala.

“Ava is a determined, hard-working player and we’ll certainly miss her on the field this season,” Struble said. “I know she will have an incredible experience abroad and we’re looking forward to having her share what she learns when she rejoins us next year.”

Soccer Without Borders runs community-led, year-round youth development programs in underserved areas in the United States and abroad. Using the mediums of soccer and life-skills education, the organization aspires to help young people come into a greater understanding of their bodies, voices, minds and communities, and encourage them to make healthy choices for their futures. An avid traveler, Murphey has been to Guatemala before and also went on a community service trip to Costa Rica when she was 17. Murphey is studying art and Spanish at Carnegie Mellon and will return to campus in 2011.

“I love to travel and have always wanted to do more. I like to see other cultures and see what more there is to learn about the world outside of the classroom setting,” Murphey said. While Murphey will certainly be missed by her teammates this season, she will follow the team’s performance from Guatemala. She plans to return to the field when she comes back to Carnegie Mellon next fall.

“I’d love to see the team do really well and I know it’s possible for them to have a very successful season,” Murphey said.

Part of Murphey’s responsibility with Soccer Without Borders is to raise money for her own expenses. She has plans to hold a tournament with her high school coach, run a car wash and has other creative ideas in the hopper.

“I know the year will be beneficial and I’m looking forward to learning a lot,” Murphey said.

To learn more about Soccer Without Borders, visit the organization’s website.