My name is Nick Geraghty. I am a senior at West Chester University, and will be traveling to Peru to engage in personal training for a non-profit organization’s soccer program. And this is my first time coaching a team and my experience so far has been everything I have hoped for. Since I stopped playing competitive soccer I wanted to find a connection back to the sport. So, I stayed involved in exercise and studied it which led me to where I am today coaching for a soccer team in a different country.
A Little Biography:
I am 23 years old and live in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. I have played competitive soccer most of my life up until my freshman year in college. I like competition in general, so I like all sports, soccer, American football, hockey, basketball, golf In soccer I played striker/forwarded until my first knee injury then central Forward. During my high school career, I suffered two major knee injuries that crushed my dreams of professional soccer. Soccer was the only topic on my mind at the time so I settled with the only school that offered me a scholarship to play. Once I decided there was no future with my career playing, I left the school and pursued a degree in exercise at a new school, West Chester University. I do not feel frustration or sadness that I do not play anymore. I have always been told that when one door closes another door opens. There is only so much I can control and unfortunately it just wasn’t meant to be. But my love for the game has brought me here today. When life knocks you down it’s how you react to it that will determine who you are. If I continued to be mad and upset about it, I probably would not be here today. I got knocked back and took two steps forward and turned it into a lesson I can teach others.
I am now pursuing to receive my bachelor’s degree in exercise science in December and then move onto becoming a Physical Therapist.
During my winter break, I stumbled upon an email from a professor about an “alternative spring break” trip to Peru. This year was my last spring break; coupled with the desire to go abroad, I decided to apply for the program. From December to March, students, staff, and myself met once a week to properly prepare for our trip. We were able to accomplish all of our pre-trip goals and more with everyone’s efforts fundraising and reaching out for donations.
Over the six days in Peru the director, Daniel Klopp, and the rest of the Voices4Peru staff gave the group an experience none of us will forget. It all started with our first tour to Ventanilla where I witnessed some extreme eye openers. Man made burial grounds, families of 6+ living in unreal housing environments, unsanitary trash bins filled with water used for anything applicable; all things you think you would only see in the movies. This was an extremely humbling experience and a great first start to our trip.
One of the reasons why I wanted to attend the trip was because I am a firm believer in lending a hand to anyone in need. So when I found out one of the trip’s main goals were to renovate a home for a family, I was all in. In the span of two days, we were able to put up new wood walls, provide a new dirt floor, and give the house a new look with some fresh paint. It was an unbelievable feeling to have this family and others in the community so grateful for everything we accomplished.
In Ventanilla, there is an extreme high level of gangs, drugs, and crime. As a young adolescent in this marginalized community, it is very easy to skip public school and freely do as they please in which results in becoming involved in all of these issues. Voices4Peru gives these kids opportunity to live a positive life through faith, sports, and school. One of our nights in Peru we had the privilege of watching a practice for the soccer program. With soccer being my lifetime passion, I was very excited to get a first look at foreign soccer. While at practice I was able to share my story with the director Daniel Klopp and the conversation led to my major and myself looking for an internship to graduate. From there he asked me if I was capable of personal training a whole soccer program. After a couple weeks of reviewing the pros and cons, I finally decided I could not pass up on this once in a lifetime opportunity. After a lot of paperwork and many approvals from the University, we were able to create this into my final semester internship for me to graduate in December.
During my time in Peru, my plan is to create an organized training regime to help educate the soccer program on how to properly workout. With limited resources to help build mass I will have to think outside the box and use alternatives instead of weights and a gym. Since I will only be here for two months, I am going to be teaching a few individuals interested in fitness on my process of thinking and creating workout programs. This will help keep the training program running while I am not present and spark interest for these individuals to do their own research on fitness.
To see results, both exercise and a proper diet are needed. I will be also providing basic education on diet so these adolescents know how to recover after a workout. Most of these kids are malnourished so we will be learning what their daily diet consists of and try to improve it with the limited resources we have.
Finally, on my time that I am not personal training, I will be within the community spreading human kindness and doing whatever I can to help the Voices4Peru staff. In this world there is too much hate and not enough love so I am excited to do my part for this community.