July 10, 2000
People to People Sports Ambassadors is a program which President Dwight D. Eisenhower began years ago to encourage American youth to travel abroad and bring goodwill through their involvement in sports.
Each summer, many teens participate in numerous programs in several countries around the world, playing sports they enjoy. American youth teams compete against other countries' youth teams in soccer, basketball, and baseball/softball at various organized Cups.
Fifteen-year-old Sam Shupe of Woodinville decided to apply to be a People to People Sports Ambassador in the sport of soccer for this summer because he thought the experience would be interesting and fun.
"I've never been to Europe before, and this looked like a great way to travel and experience new cultures, as well as play a sport I enjoy," explains Sam.
After submitting the necessary paperwork, including three references, and then interviewing with a program representative, he was selected as an ambassador. Sam leaves on July 19th for Germany, where he will spend a few days in Frankfurt, getting to know the other members of his group of eighteen boys. Then it's on to Amsterdam, where the team will play in the Coca-Cola Haarlem Cup. He will be gone a total of twelve days.
Sam has played soccer since he was five and now plays almost year round, both indoor and outside. His position is left defense and occasionally midfield. "I've always liked soccer," says Sam. "I enjoy contact sports most and I play basketball, too. Soccer has a lot of action and running, which I really like."
He doesn't know anyone else in his group, as the members come from many different parts of the United States. He says, "It will be interesting to see how we come together as a team and then play against some of these fiercely competitive European teams where soccer is the dominant sport."
Sam has been taking German in school and looks forward to the opportunity to speak the language. "It will be a chance for me to experience the culture firsthand, and that always helps when you're learning a foreign language," comments Sam.
While traveling, the team will stay in dorms or with host families, and there will also be time to tour the area and visit places of interest. To help raise the money for this trip, Sam has been selling chocolate bars. He says, "It's made me realize that every chocolate bar I sell is important."
Sam hopes one day to be an engineer and design bridges and other large structures. He has been a 4.0 student at Northshore Junior High, cites math as his favorite subject, and enjoys computer games, collecting coins, and playing sports.