(W) Soccer

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Bridget Abroad
December 21, 2016
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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - The great Muhammad Ali once said, "Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth."

This is an ideal that seems to come naturally for UCF junior defender Bridget Callahan.

"I've always enjoyed serving the community, being involved and working with underprivileged kids," Callahan said. "I just really like being around people and helping others."

Callahan will travel to Granada in January to participate in a week-long cultural immersion experience and soccer camp at Soccer Without Borders Nicaragua. The camp, scheduled Jan. 8-15, provides opportunities for local girls to play soccer, receive tutoring, attend workshops and team-building activities, as well as have access to school scholarships, supplies, and athletic clothing and equipment.

The Soccer Without Borders mission is to use soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing under-served youth with a tool kit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success.

In addition to donating soccer gear and funding her own travel expenses, Callahan set up a fundraising web page, where supporters can help her give back.

"Each of us will bring a 50-pound suitcase with equipment to donate, things like cleats, balls or shin guards," Callahan explained. "We are also required to raise $500 in donations, but I'm trying to reach a goal of $1,000 because I want to give as much as possible to the organization."

Throughout middle school and high school Callahan was involved with efforts to give back to the community. As a sophomore at UCF, she also participated in a spring 2015 Knights Without Borders trip to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. During the trip, student-athletes and staff from UCF Athletics helped build a library and spent time working with local youth.

The Nicaragua trip will force Callahan even further outside her comfort zone than the Knights Without Borders experience, as she will be the only student-athlete from UCF attending.

"I'm not going with any friends or teammates," Callahan said. "There is always some anxiety when you join a new group, but I know it will be great because I will be meeting other collegiate and NWSL players who share my values."

As for her own future, Callahan is still undecided, but said she might like to travel and play overseas and possibly even get into coaching after her collegiate career comes to a close.

"Of course all of us want to go pro," Callahan said with a laugh. "But down the road, I just know I would like to work with kids and stay around the sport of soccer."

Callahan started in 18 of 19 matches, scored three goals, and logged over 1500 minutes this past season for the Knights. She studies human communication and is a member of the UCF Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and the Student Athlete Leadership Institute.

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