HomeFootballBridging cultures: Spanish exchange student enriches local soccer team in Goose Creek

Bridging cultures: Spanish exchange student enriches local soccer team in Goose Creek


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Soccer is the world’s game.

It can bridge countries and cultures. It’s doing just that right here in Goose Creek.

Senior night. A typical American family moment. A farewell to the team, the school, the fans.

“I was glad we were able to have Lydia walk with the seniors and I’m so glad we won because hard work really pays off,” said Stratford soccer player Melena Kirar.

But Lydia Canamares is not a senior. She does not walk with her actual family. She is not even American.

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“I grew up with soccer in my life,” Canamares said. “My dad is a huge fan of Athletico Madrid. He is really into it. I went to games with him.”

Canamares is an exchange student from Spain. She is a junior here to study for one year. Her original host family was military, and they had to leave, leaving her without a host family. Enter the Orth family of Goose Creek.

“We have adopted boys and fostered in the past – so we said, ‘Let’s just do it.’ Two weeks before school started, we went through the process,” said Tommy Orth.

Her welcome at Charleston International was phenomenal. Soon after, homesickness set in.

“I met Astella in science class, and she was like, ‘We have a soccer team,’ and I said, ‘Sure, I will try out,'” said Canamares.

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Astella Kirar plays soccer for Stratford.

“I knew Lydia was new to our school, and I liked her as a person,” Astella Kirara said. “I knew I was going to be on the soccer team, so I said, ‘You should totally join so we have more time to hang out.'”

Lydia didn’t make the team, but she stuck with them as a manager. She certainly impressed head coach Pete Heusinger.

“She came to practice every day and worked with our keeper a lot. We only had one keeper and Lydia was her training buddy,” Heusinger said. “She kept working hard, and I talked with other coaches, and I said, ‘Let’s go and put her on the roster.'”

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The rest is history.

“Being on the team is good for me,” Canamares said. “I love the people. I love the coaches. They are so nice to me. They told me the same day we had a game.”

Her host dad saw the changes immediately.

Soccer is the bridge. Senior day is the proverbial off-ramp.

No way to exchange these nights, with these Knights.

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