Feb. 4, 2013
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Knowledge and skill in intercollegiate athletics is typically gained through hard work, discipline and development from a young age. Relationships with teammates are typically developed in the offseason through training sessions, creating a bond and team chemistry that translates to on-the-field cohesion and success.
Erin Yenney, a midfielder with the University of Louisville women's soccer team who recently completed her sophomore season, has that same bond, team chemistry and relationship with her coaches and teammates. But, how she developed those bonds and approaches those relationships is attributed to her experiences growing up.
Yenney, at the age of 11, traveled to El Salvador with the Children's International Summer Village (CISV) program. CISV focuses on exposing young people from around the world to one another and their specific cultures and ways of life.
"The purpose was to create peace and understanding of different cultures and ways of life at a young age, cultivating teamwork and leadership skills as well," she said.
At the age of 14, Yenney did another program through CISV which had Yenney and her family host a young lady from Thailand for three weeks and in return Yenney visited Thailand for three weeks.
"This was a huge learning experience as well, being completely emerged in a different culture with a family that knew very little English," explained Yenney.
Both experiences with the CISV exposed Yenney to different cultures and the challenges they face on a daily basis. She credits these experiences with providing her perspective and insight into different cultures and how to relate to different kinds of people.
"Being exposed to so many different types of culture, personalities, food and customs and the challenges those bring, at such a young age I think really is what cultivated my open mind and desire to try anything and everything new," she said. "It also taught me to always put myself in other people's shoes to see it from their point of view, as well as how everyone is different, but we all have something to offer."
Yenney, selected as a team captain for the Cardinals for her junior season in 2013, draws parallels to her positive experiences with helping and learning about different people and different cultures to the atmosphere and culture of giving in Louisville Athletics.
"That is why I love being a part of Louisville Athletics, we get to take part in giving back to the great community we are in," she said.
Giving back to the community is not the only similarity and benefit to Yenney's experiences with CISV. Working with different people in groups to achieve a common goal can be translated onto the pitch.
"Working together on a team to achieve a common goal is so gratifying, and getting to help others while simultaneously growing as a person is even better," said Yenney.
A native of Troy, Ohio, Yenney was named to the 2011 BIG EAST All-Rookie Team and is a member of the Athletic Director's Honor Roll. While maintaining focus on her own collegiate career, she plans to continue her work with CISV in the very near future.