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Sounders star set for second visit
For the second time in three years, Seattle Sounders star Steve Zakuani is coming to Sequim with teammates in tow.
Zakuani and personal coach Nathan Funston are hosting a youth sports camp for boys and girls ages 8-18 at the Albert Haller Playfields on Oct. 15.
Funston said Zakuani contacted him about running a second camp after a good experience in 2011.
“He said he liked the soccer vibe out on the peninsula,” Funston said. “His heart is to reach the underserved … (and) he felt like Sequim didn’t get opportunities like the Seattle area does.”
In July 2011, Zakuani brought Sounders defender Patrick Ianni and James Riley — now of Chivas USA — to Sequim for a camp that saw dozens of participants learn soccer skills, listen to the pros tell stories and get autographs.
Funston said Zakuani plans on bringing one or two teammates once again but didn’t have confirmation of who they may be.
“One of the neatest things is that (participants see) these players are real people,” Funston said. “The three guys that came out were such positive role models.”
The Seattle star hasn’t announced who he’s bringing this year, but the camp’s purpose remains the same: to raise funds for the Kingdom Hope charity. Zakuani founded Kingdom Hope as a community outreach organization with the vision statement of “Inspiring Greatness through Soccer.” The nonprofit organization aims to help and inspire individuals to become achievers in all areas of life through camps, clinics, a scholarship fund and soccer academies. The program’s ultimate vision is to establish soccer academies in several locations.
To register, go to www.nathanfunston.com. The clinic is for the first 80 registrants and likely will fill quickly, Funston says.
In 2011, Zakuani was coming off a horrific leg injury, but still managed to get on the field at the Sequim camp to play a bit of goalkeeper in camp scrimmages. Ironically, Zakuani recently recovered from a sports hernia injury this season and was taken off the Sounders’ injured reserve list Sept. 12 in time for Seattle’s postseason run.
Funston said camp organizers are seeking corporate sponsors to help cover some costs. For more information or to contact Funston, see www.nathanfunston.com.