CENTRAL POINT -- Crater soccer's McKenna Gugliotta is a leader on the field and off of it. Head coach Bryton Kiger defers to her when it comes to getting the team ready. This week, she gave as much to a handful of children in Jamaica as she's given to her teammates at Crater over the last four years.
"My grandma's actually been going down to Jamaica for a couple years now," Gugliotta said, "She's been helping out in the elementary schools down there."
Inspired by that service, Gugliotta enlisted the help of her community to bring in soccer equipment to give to children in Jamaica, almost all of whom play the sport they love barefoot.
She did this through her part-time job at The Soccer Post and by organizing help throughout Medford and Central Point, which ended up being overwhelming.
"It has been amazing," Gugliotta said, "I got a lot more things than I thought I was going to get."
Earlier this week, she got to drop off the supplies to the Jamaican children, handing out supplies as they waited patiently for equipment they had only ever dreamt of before.
"She's a great player, a great leader, and she exemplifies what we want in an athlete," Crater head girls soccer coach Bryton Kiger said.
"I think it will be really cool to see them using the cleats and having fun playing the game," Gugliotta said of her trip before she left.
When she arrived in Jamaica, she had 40 pairs of cleats, hands full of t-shirts, shorts, goalie gloves, socks, and shin guards. All of them went to the children who love the global game.
"I think it's really awesome that she is taking it off the field and continuing to be a leader to step up to do what she believes in," teammate Makiah Palmer said.
As people who do a good deed and help those less fortunate often do, Gugliotta made the entire mission sound simple, even though the countless hours spent on the project over the last few months have been anything but.
“Since they love the sport so much, and have a passion for it, it’s really cool to take it to them.”
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