A Different Perspective

Submitted by: Kaci Mexico - June 23rd, 2016


By Kaci Mexico
June 23, 2016

Right after the end of their highly successful season, the Westmont Women’s soccer team spent most of the spring not only gearing up for the 2016 season, but in preparation for their triennial team missions trip to Uganda, Africa.

This is the fourth mission’s trip that the Westmont Women’s Soccer Program has taken and each trip has been through a sports ministry organization called the Sports Outreach Institute.

The Warriors departed the United States on May 9th, and left Uganda to return home on May 22nd.

Upon arriving back in Santa Barbara, head coach Chantel Cappuccilli reflected on the team’s experiences in Uganda.

“What we were told before the trip was to expect God to move, but I don’t think any of us were really anticipating the amount that would occur while we were there,” explained Cappuccilli. “I think that seeing Christianity on a global scale is crucial within the development of faith because it just gives one a different perspective and I think a new perspective is what we came away with.

“One highlight included meeting the sports outreach staff and getting to see what they do on a local level. We came alongside them in what they do day in and day out and it was highly impactful to be able to work with them, to pray with them, and to be able to learn from them.”

“Another highlight would definitely be playing soccer in a foreign country,” continued Cappuccilli. “It was an experience in which we got to learn from the way they play and see the love they have for the game. We also got to play against the Ugandan National team – the game was treated as if it was an international friendly and so that was a great experience for our players.”

Cappuccilli continued and shared one of her favorite moments of the trip.

“On one of our last days in Africa we played in a small sided tournament in Gulu called the Westmont Women’s Soccer Empowerment Gala and it was nothing short of amazing. The spirit behind the march was rooted in the fact that women in Gulu don’t have a voice. So we did a march into the Koro farm to represent women and say that women do and can have a voice, should be empowered, are beautiful, are loved, and do have gifts other than being mothers and wives. We also had an opportunity to show these women that they can play soccer.

“We ended up winning the match and the girls were awarded a pregnant goat. They decided to give the goat to Brenda, who is a part of the Gulu staff. In a lot of ways this was the climax of the trip because we ended up winning the goat, and were able to give it back to Brenda who was an instrument that helped us change in a lot of ways, just within perspective and what we learned in our time at Gulu. I think what was also really neat about the whole gala was that after every match, the women would share testimony’s.”

“The experiences that the women shared together drew them closer together and so I believe it was a huge bonding experience within the team. You can’t have these sorts of experiences without becoming closer and I think that it was within our vulnerability that we became a closer unit all with one purpose of exemplifying Christ in our lives.”

“As far as the team goes,” continued Cappuccilli, “I am extremely proud of them. I always mention that I want them to be comfortable within the uncomfortable and I would say that they got to that point when we were in Africa. They were completely willing to jump in and dance, work, run clinics, and ask questions – they were fully on board. I am extremely proud of the way they represented Westmont while we were there.”

Senior Grace Lemley also expressed her thoughts on the trip.

“Africa was hard. It was a place where our faith was questioned and challenged daily, a place where we had to look for the good in the midst of intense hardship, but it was also a place of raw joy, faith bigger than we’ve ever seen, and a community where God’s presence was very evident.

“We went to Uganda hoping to share the word of God and pour love into the people there,” continued Lemley, “and we came back with bigger faith, an appreciation for a new culture, and a firsthand experience of the love of God through the people of Uganda.”
Moving forward, Cappuccilli shares how she believes this trip will shape the entire mindset of the team going into this upcoming season.

“We are continuing to ask ourselves – how do we incorporate what we learned in Africa in our own local community. The reality is that we aren’t going to be there every single day, so it is what you do within your local mission, within yourself, and within the team that will ultimately make the difference and impact the season.

“We met so many people that would say their dream is to play college soccer,” continued Cappuccilli. “That is not to be taken for granted, so I hope we carry that into the season and say today is a gift, this season is a gift and even summer training is a gift because not a lot of people get to do what we do. So, we want to be grateful and carry that gratitude with us throughout season.”

Throughout the trip, Cappuccilli posted blog posts written by her and various players, photos, and travel updates on a website that was created specifically for the trip – Cappuccilli continues to update the website with blog posts that consist of the players’ most recent reflections of the trip since their return.

This website can be accessed at: http://westmontwsoccer.com/find-the-good/