Local couple supply Honduras kids with soccer gear

A simple Facebook post goes viral after family posts request for donations


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  • Photo providedCarol Louer, left, and Dr. Eric Louer, right, deliver donated soccer equipment to a leage in need in Honduras.




  • Photo providedChildren enjoy their new, donated soccer equipment before a game in Honduras. Local couple Carol and Eric Louer collected the equipment and brought it to the league.




— Carol and Dr. Eric Louer were having a meal in a Honduras hotel when a friendly conversation with the waiter changed the course of their trip.

The West Milford couple, who were there to go scuba diving, connected with their waiter because they were all soccer fans and parents of soccer players. But a league in Honduras, the waiter told them, was struggling under economic and political hardships so much so that the Louers felt they had to help.

"Two years ago, our family travelled to Roatan, Honduras to scuba dive," wrote Carol on her Facebook page. "As always, we manage to chat about soccer with the locals. Upon returning, the local soccer coach contacted me asking if we could, in any way help the 120 kids in his league.

"The kids were driven to succeed but desperately needed equipment. At first, the request overwhelmed me but I decided to try. I reached out to friends who have professional connections — wrote to charity organizations.

"I got an enthusiast response but nothing tangible. As the date of our upcoming trip crept up, I thought, 'What could I do as one person to gear up 120 kids?' That is when I realized I have one voice but also live in an amazing community. I placed an open request on various Facebook groups including Greenwood Lake Animal Hospital’s page.

"The response was both generous and from dozens of individuals and groups. West Milford 'Help a Neighbor Club,' 'West Milford Moms' and the Boy Scouts of Oradell collected gear and individuals purchased new items or passed along gently used items.

"A college in Vermont donated their team’s previous year gear equipment. In total, we received the following:

2 Full size nets

Exercise ladder

Cones

2 Flags

60+ pair of cleats (many newly purchased)

55 Pairs shin guards

13 Matching team gear backpacks

17 Adult team socks

20 Bibs

1 Pump

1 Set of goalie gloves

30+ Boys shorts

5 Referee shirts

1 Warm up suit

30+ Kids socks (many purchased new)

12 Adult shorts

52 Kids shirts

13 Matching team shirts adult

16 Balls

5 Gear bags

1 Honduras national soccer jersey

"The coach and his family greeted us at the airport, having already arranged with local customs to allow us to pass. I was worried about this. As a tourist, how do you explain 60 pairs of cleats?"

Carol Louer said they carried more than two hundred pounds of donated equipment for the soccer league and then another 50 pounds of their own scuba gear and carryon bags.

"My husband asked 'where is the raincoat' and I said 'I didn't pack it,'" Carol Louer said as she recalled how few personal items they brought on the trip.

Though this trip was unusual, the couple is accustom to world travel. Veterinarian Eric Louer was born in France and Carol lived for part of her life in Israel. The two met while skiing in Switzerland.

They moved to West Milford, where they raised two sons in 1994 and they own and operate the Greenwood Lakes Animal Hospital together.

The Louers were able to give the soccer players the donations and see the excitement first hand. Carol Louer wrote on her Facebook page:

"We watched two matches — U18 vs. U16 and U14 vs. U12. Prior to the start of the first game, the gear was first distributed. The players immediately added shin guards to their uniforms. I recognized many of the cleats, which were handed out at a practice match.

"Watching the kids play outstanding soccer was incredible."

The Louers told the children about the drive for the donations and they sent back thank you's and gratitude for their American benefactors.

"My husband and I packed and carried the bags, but the gifts were from all you. Thank you," Carol Louer wrote.

— Julie Boyd Cole



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