December 7, 2015

2015 High School Graduates

Congratulations to our 2015 High School Graduates!!

Graduating High School is no small feat for many of our girls who come from poor, rural homes, often attending a run-down ill-equipped primary school.

In November, six Suba Lakers completed their high school education by taking the KCSE; Kenyan Certificate of Secondary Education. A huge congratulations to Eliver Awuor, Caren Akeyo, Dorthy Adhambio, Damaris Awino, Alicent Awour and Raysher Jedida

We are so proud of these girls for their efforts to work hard in school and overcome enormous odds to finish secondary school.

August 11, 2015

A Special Visit from America!

Suba Lakers Club Co-Founder Joe Peterson and his wife, Daneen, had the opportunity to take a short trip back to Kenya in July. They first visited Mbita where Joe had lived and worked for 10 years with Christ's Gift Academy. There they met up with all the girls in Primary School who live around Mbita. It was a total surprise to them. The girls were called together for a meeting and then suddenly, across the football pitched, walked Uncle Joe and Auntie Daneen! As the girls saw them walking, they started running toward them and were greeted with hugs and hellos. 

Joe and Daneen also traveled to the rural places outside of Kisii to attend the Secondary School Regional Ball Games. Of our 24 girls currently in secondary school, 14 of them were playing with their school teams at this Championship. Joe and Daneen had a wonderful time getting to watch each of them play and spend some time together between matches over the 2-day tournament. Even though it was brief, we were all very grateful for this special time with them again.

May 12, 2015

Suba Laker Day May 2015

Primary school girls, secondary school girls and even some college girls participated in the Suba Laker Day on Saturday, May 2, 2015.  Eighteen of them had recently competed against each other in the KYFA Nationwide Ladies Tournament playing for their school teams, but on this day they were all back together again as one team.

Coach Dave and Coach Paul had recently attended a coaches training organized by the Kenya Football Federation.  The training was done by German trained coaches.  Coach Dave and Coach Paul were able to put into practice the things they had learned during this one day training with the Suba Lakers.  They subjected the players to a lot of drills and good teaching, but there was also some time for fun and games.  

These girls love coming back together and sharing stories.  Some of them secondary school girls were given time in front of the large group to share their team’s experience at the KYFA tournament.  While a number of the  primary school girls shared their experiences during the ball-games which took place during Term 1 in March and April.   

Visitors from a YWAM team in Los Angeles attended the training and helped out in different ways.  The girls just enjoyed spending some time with the visitors.  A special guest from Suba Environmental Education of Kenya (SEEK) also had time to share with the girls about making good choices in their lives. 

Our secondary girls all travelled back to their boarding schools two days later to start Term 2.  They were excited for their school soccer season this term and to see which of their school team will win the Regional tournament, go to Nationals and get bragging rights over the other Suba Laker girls.

Pray for a successful Term 2 in the classroom and on the field for all our girls!

May 7, 2015

KYFA 2015

A few Suba Laker players and officials
At the end of April, 18 Suba Laker girls participated in the annual KYFA Nationwide Ladies Tournament.  For the past 8 years, the Suba Lakers have always brought our own teams to participate in the Open Age category and in the Under 15 category.  This year was different because so many of their school teams were participating in the tournament to try and help them prepare for the upcoming season in Term 2.  Even though we didn’t participate as a club, we were thankful that so many of our girls were able to participate in the excellent tournament.  

What makes the KYFA tournament special is that all of the teams “camp out” together at a local primary school for 3 nights.  Each team sleeps in a different classroom, but they share their meals together, interact around the campus and KYFA brings in successful women from around the country who share with the girls from their own experiences and motivate the girls to strive for success in other areas of their life besides only soccer.  

The soccer part of the program has become more and more competitive each year with most of the best secondary school teams from around the Lake Region, Western Region and usually a couple of strong club teams from Nairobi or other places.  

The Suba Lakers had 5 girls playing for Jera, 2 girls for Kobala, 5 for Mawego, 3 for Nyakach, and 3 for Ugari.  Kobala was in a very tough pool, but played very well drawing with eventual champion Nyakach and powerhouse Tartar while defeating Lubino 2-0.  Caren played outstanding leading the team from the midfield position.  Unfortunately they weren’t able to advance to the semifinals.  Ugari and Mawego were also not able to advance to the knockout stages.  

Lillian, 9th grade, was flawless in the 
goal box for her team!
Jera performed well in their pool winning three games (1-0, 1-0, 1-0) and losing one to a strong Soccer Queens team 2-0.  They finished 2nd in their pool and moved on to the semifinals where they lost to the Tartar in a close 1-0 game.  Jera was only playing with their school going girls while Tartar had also included some girls who had finished school already.  In the 3rd place playoffs they again lost to the Soccer Queens by the same score as their first match in the preliminaries 2-0.  This placed them 4th.  All five of their Suba Lakers played a lot and contributed to their success including Teresa, Leah, June, Raisha and Alicent.  As a 1st year student, June is fitting in well on the team.  Leah played outstanding defense and Teresa was able to play well in a new position as a wing.  Alicent, the Jera captain, unfortunately suffered a knee injury and was limited from the 2nd game on.  

Nyakach Girls Football Team
KYFA 2015 Champions, Open Age
Nyakach finished the pool play with 2 wins, 1 draws and 1 loss.  Their wins came against last year’s National Champions, Butere, 1-0 and a 5-0 trouncing of Lubino.  They finished 2nd in their pool and were matched up in the semifinals with Soccer Queens.  The game went to post-match penalty kicks where Suba Laker goalkeeper Lillian Awuor won the match for them by saving 1 of the 5 penalty kicks.  In the finals Nyakach got revenge against the only team that had beaten them in the tournament, Tartar.  They flipped the score on the earlier 1-0 loss and this time beat Tartar 1-0 to win the finals and capture the 1st place trophy.  It was an important win for Nyakach to give them confidence heading into the secondary school soccer season.  The past two years Nyakach has lost in the Regional Championship, being denied an opportunity to go to Nationals.  Lillian was the most outstanding goalkeeper of the tournament, helping her team win the championship.          

We are grateful that so many of the Suba Lakers had the opportunity to play in the tournament.  Playing many matches against strong competition will make each of them better and improve their teams.  It will be fun to see which of these teams is able to win the ultimate prize and capture the Regional Championship in July!  

April 18, 2015

Primary Ball-Games 2015

All of the Suba Lakers Primary School girls were highly involved with the Primary School Ball-games over the past month.  Through watching the ball-games, club officials were also able to identify some other young, talented girls that will be able to start training with the club to develop their talents.  

In the Homabay County tournament, the Mbita team included Suba Lakers Siska Verah, Mourine Owiti, Felistas Atieno and Florence Wangoi and were coached by Paul Diela and Dave Gombe.  This team was a force to be reckoned with.  In the first game the Mbita team won 1-0 on a goal from Siska and then drew 0-0 with Ndhiwa which featured Suba Laker defender Lencer Adoyo.  Mbita topped the group and entered the semifinals against Rachuonyo North.  Mbita led 1-0 after another goal from Siska Verah.  They kept the lead until 4 minutes before the final whistle when Rachuonyo equalized on a debatable non-call from an off-sides position.  Unfortunately the Mbita team lost in the penalty shoot-out to get knocked out.  

All five of the Suba Lakers were selected to proceed to the Regional Championships including Siska, Florence, Mourine, Felistas and Lencer.  The team was strong but got placed in the group of death with Kisumu and Kisii who were both looking for revenge from last year.  The Homabay team dropped the first game to a strong Kisumu team 2-0 and then drew with Kisii 0-0.  On goal differential, the Homabay team was knocked out and not able to defend its title from last year.  

Even though they were knocked out early, two Suba Lakers were still chosen for the Regional team who competed in the National Finals in Machakos.  Lencer Adoyo and Felistas Atieno (Apeto) had the privilege of playing at Nationals for the Lake Region team.  Lencer was a part of the team last year that won Nationals for the first time ever.  Apeto will be at Nationals for her first time.

In the National tournament, the Lake Region team was determined to defend their title from last year.  They got off to a strong start by beating Aberdares 2-0 before getting shutout by powerhouse Nzoia (Western) 1-0.  In their final pool game they qualified for the semifinals by beating Coast 1-0 and finishing 2nd in the pool behind Nzoia.  

The semifinals were a rematch of last year’s Championship game between Lake Region and Metropolitan (Nairobi).  Just like last year, the game came down to a post-game penalty shootout.  And again, like last year, Lake Region prevailed!  

In the Finals, Lake Region was matched up with the only team that beat them this year, Nzoia.  They are a powerhouse in Girl’s Football, usually winning the secondary schools title and often the primary schools title also.  Just like four year ago, Nzoi defeated Lake Region in the Finals 1-0.  It was a tough match and both teams shined brightly.  

We are proud of Lencer, Apeto and the Lake Region girls for once again reaching the National Finals for the 4th time in the past 5 years.  

Congrats to our Laker girls and the entire Lake Region Team! It has been a great season!

March 21, 2015

Primary School Action

Over the past month, the Suba Lakers have been busy preparing our primary school girls for the School Ball Games that will begin soon.  The weekly sessions have been aimed at improving their skills and getting them into shape.  

Several of the Suba Lakers are returning this year with a lot of experience and their sights set on moving further than they did last year.  As young players, Siska Verah and Florence Wangoi were key contributors up to the Sub-County level in 2014, but with a year of maturity, they want to play a bigger role this year and go further.  Felistas Atieno, Mourine Owiti and Phylice Akoth all helped their team win the Homa Bay County Championships, but were disappointed when they weren’t selected to move on to Regionals like some of their teammates were.  Felistas turned into a very strong central defender who uses her aggressiveness, size and skill to keep the ball away from the goal.  Mourine has been a powerful, fast defensive wing player for many years now.  Phylice uses her speed to put pressure on the opponent’s defense as a striker.  Last year Lencer Adoyo was the starting defender and arguably the most valuable player on the Lake Region team that won their first ever National championship.  With that experience under her belt she is excited about the opportunity of helping her team win back to back national championships.  

The early stages of the ball-games should be starting any day now.  The ball games begin at the school level (or Base) and progress up through the Zone, Division, Sub-County (District), County, Region and culminates at Nationals! 

We wish our Suba Lakers success in all of their competitions!  

March 15, 2015

Equipment Donations

Equipment is always a challenge for the Suba Lakers.  

It is difficult to find good balls which will endure being played on the rough Kenyan fields filled with rocks and thorns and usually surrounded by barbed wire fences.  Soccer cleats (known as 'football boots') are very expensive in Kenya.  Most of the cleats which can be purchased in Kenya are already used.  Because the fields are usually very hard with a lot of rocks and dirt and very little grass, the cleats also take a big beating.  And many times because we only have few cleats to choose from, the girls end up picking a pair that doesn’t fit them so well.  When they wear ones that are a little too small or too big, it is also rough on the shoes, especially since they were previously used by someone else. 

In March, a visiting team from Montana, brought 13 brand new pairs of cleats which were donated by a couple who wanted to bless the Suba Lakers.  The cleats were received by our primary girls with big smiles.  Some of them had probably never seen a brand new pair of soccer cleats!  What a special gift for the club!

Through the U.S. Soccer Foundation's Passback program, we also recently received some lightly used soccer equipment which included more pairs of soccer cleats, goalkeeper gloves, used soccer balls, socks and a few jerseys.  

The donations were a big encouragement to the club officials and the players. 

Learn more about the Passback program and how YOU can organize a donation drive to bless another soccer program somewhere around the world!

February 28, 2015

KCSE Results

Our 6 high school graduates have been eagerly awaiting their National Exam results which were finally released yesterday.  They took their exams in October/November, along with 400,000 other students across the country.  It is a big milestone for these girls to have finished high school and taken their National Exams.  In our district, only 16% of the girls normally finish high school.  The Suba Lakers have helped over 85% of their girls complete high school.  

This year’s class featured two of the 
most outstanding students in the country.  

Adah Sharon achieved a mean score of A which places her in the top 1% of students in Kenya.  Her teammate Linet Akeyo achieved an A- which puts her in the top 3% of students in Kenya.  Those high scores will ensure that both of these girls are able to continue their education in university through government sponsorship.  Sharon Bismarck also scored highly, earning a B- which is above the cutoff for qualification for University.  The other three did not score as highly as these three, but being able to graduate high school was a big achievement for these girls who many said would never reach that far.  They faced tough circumstances in their education including a poor foundation because of very weak primary schools, poverty, and many other challenges.  Each of these 6 six girls were orphaned from a young age which can drastically affect their home situation, academic performance and financial means.  

We thank God that through the help of the club working along with their schools, teachers and families, each of these girls has made it past this critical juncture of their life.  

January 20, 2015

Joining High School

The 2015 school year got off to a slow start with the nationwide teacher’s strike, but finally cooler heads prevailed and school is beginning.  8 of our 9 Eighth Graders were able to join various high schools around the region.  

Niphrid, Sharon and Lavenda joined Ugari Secondary School in Migori County.  Winny, Lillian and Eunice joined Nyakach Girls in Kisumu County.  Nyakach has reached the Regional Final in back to back years and are hoping these girls can help them get over the hump and win the region so that they can advance to Nationals.  Nancy joined Sindo Girls High School.  Finally, June joined 12 time regional champions Jera Seconary School where she will team up with four other Suba Lakers who are learning and competing there.  

In the past five years, 39 out of the 42 Suba Laker Eighth Graders who have taken their National Exams have continued their education in high school.  That is a 93% rate which is astounding compared to the district average of 50%.  We are grateful that because of their football skills, academic performance and financial help, these girls are able to continue in their education.  

These 8 girls bring the total number of Suba Lakers currently in High School to 29.  We have had 13 finish high school in the past couple of years.  

We are also happy that several of our girls have been chosen as captains of their high school soccer teams.  Last year Captain Judith Mayor helped lead her team to Nationals.  This year Caren Akeyo is the captain at Kobala, Alicent Awuor is the captain at Jera and Lavenda Achieng as a 1st year student has been named the captain at Ugari.  

Please pray with us for these girls as they adapt to life in secondary school!