Youth athletes in Redding Sunday learned from a pair of the best the Northstate has turned out in recent years.
US national soccer star Megan Rapinoe, of Redding, and US women’s national softball player Cheridan Hawkins, of Anderson, both participated in youth sports camps.
For Rapinoe, along with her sister Rachel, it was their 4th Annual Rapinoe Soccer Camp.
“One of our main focuses here in Redding is just letting these kids know that we were right where they were,” says Rapinoe. “We come from this town. We didn't have this amazing facility in Redding Soccer Park to get where we are, but we still made it.”
Rapinoe says the camp is about teaching basic skills and also to give the youths something to look up to.
“Just for them to have access to someone, not only from their town, but someone who has made it on to a big stage,” she says. “And to get the kind of coaching that they're getting and I guess the kind of inspiration that they're getting is amazing.”
Right next door, at Big League Dreams, another youth camp was going on with a special north state athlete lending a hand, or in this case, a glove.
Cheridan Hawkins, who is on the US women's softball team and plays college ball at Oregon, was at her sister's softball camp where she was getting a little something back for her effort.
“I see them enjoy it and it makes me enjoy it,” Hawkins says. “And to see these children learn a game that is so special to me, I just get a good feeling every time I'm out here with these kids.”
Hawkins says being with the children also puts her success in perspective.
“I'm so absolutely proud to wear the (Oregon) Ducks jersey and the USA jersey,” she says. “And knowing that I came from Anderson and knowing that stuff like that doesn't happen very often, I feel very blessed.”
And for both Rapinoe and Hawkins, of course they were on hand to pass on their skills, but they were also there to teach something more.
“You know, yeah, we are from a small town but you can reach your dreams and you can dream as big as you can possible think and as big as you want and that's possible,” says Rapinoe.
“That's what I want them to know,” says Hawkins, “that they can do it, anybody can do it. It doesn't matter where you're from. You can be from a town of 50 people, if you work hard and you put in the time, you can do it.”