Coach Lebogang Mathe, from GRS Alexandra, South Africa, has made a strong impact in the lives of many GRS participants. One of them is Clopedia, 13 years old, who is enrolled in the eighth grade.

Clopedia and Coach Lebo

Clopedia and Coach Lebo

Clopedia is currently enrolled in the Grassroot Soccer Generation SKILLZ Program, and has developed a close relationship with Coach Lebo. Clopedia recently had an argument with a good friend and classmate of hers, Virgy; Coach Lebo helped mediate the dispute during a Generation SKILLZ intervention. Clopedia claims that she and her friend are now closer than ever, and thanked Coach Lebo for her support. She has since opened up to Lebo to tell her about some problems she has had at home.

Coach Lebo and ClopediaThis past June, Clopedia’s father passed away, and her grandmother followed soon after. It has been hard for Clopedia to deal with the situation as she has no one to talk to. Clopedia revealed her pain to Coach Lebo, who provided her with an outlet, support and advice to help her remain strong and make healthy decisions through this vulnerable time.

Coach Lebo and the Grassroot Soccer program made such and impact on Clopedia that she composed poetry about her experience. Clopedia is still learning English, and we feel privileged that she has allowed us to share some of her work with a broader audience.

Grassroot Soccer
A Poem by: Clopedia The Little Poet

Grassroot Soccer: the life, the power
This root has changed many people’s lives, including me.
This root has taught us about respect and support
Oh this root defends us from getting HIV
I’m proud of GRS
It showed me the way
It prepared a table before I knew I could join the program
Coaches of GRS, I adore you more than I can say in words
You are my inspiration
A sudden brilliant idea
I call you my shelter
The place that have my heart to be saved
I didn’t know much about HIV
Or I can say about protecting myself
But here I am
I am promising because I’m likely to be good or successful
I call the Galaxy meaning the stars
Which are very large
You are too strong like you play
The Japanese method of self-defense
Coaches of GRS I call you the Society
Because you live together
In the group of society
I study human behavior on you