Dartmouth Soccer Scores in Zimbabwe

Grass Roots SoccerI played with Methembe my freshman year at Dartmouth and beyond being one of the nicest guys ever, he was a truly amazing soccer player. Called as “the Mayor” on the field ever since his youth when he tore up the Zimbabwe youth league, he also become known as “Captain Hook” to Chris Pedrick and others who liked to watch. I never forget when Methembe rolled into preseason my freshman year and was marking me on defense. He pretty much dominated my every move and walking off the field one of the players mentioned to me that Methembe was a few days late to preseason because he was playing the World Cup qualifiers against Nigeria and i should be too upset that he crushed me on the field b/c just a few days later he was marking Amochaci and Kanu. Yeah, that’s quite a switch – world cup qualifier to Ivy League preseason. Anyway, i bring all this up b/c i wanted to post the latest of Methembe’s accomplishments in Zimbabwe and with Grass Roots Soccer which is a great program:

Former Dartmouth Soccer Star Scores Again

Methembe Ndlovu is arguably the best soccer player ever to pull on the Dartmouth green. He left Dartmouth to return to his homeland, Zimbabwe, where he earned the nations highest honor, captaining the national team. He made a brave decision to return to Zimbabwe last year to lead Grassroot Soccer’s HIV prevention efforts there. According to the WHO, Zimbabwe’s has the lowest life expectancy in the world and has dropped from 69 in 2000 to 35 in 2006. Everyone who can leave has left. Methembe returned.

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Under his leadership the Grassroot Soccer Zimbabwe program has flourished, in large part due to a partnership with Highlanders, one the nations most popular teams. In return for Methembe’s coaching services, GRS has access to all the players (pro’s and Highlanders youth), the Highlanders games for graduation ceremonies (see attached photos) and their facilities for conducting the HIV education program. The partnership has paid off for Highlanders now too as 2 days ago Methembe became the youngest coach ever to win a Zimbabwe national title.

The Dartmouth-Highlanders/Zimbabwe connection is a strong one. Dartmouth graduates Andrew Shue, Jesse Bradley, Tommy Clark (CEO of grassroots soccer), Geoff Wheeler, Brian Wiese, Chris Mitchell and former coach Bobby Clark have been involved with the club.

Feel free to drop Methembe a note at: mndlovu at grassrootsoccer.org (note, very slow internet service in Zimbabwe so don’t expect a quick note back) or check out www.grassrootsoccer.org to find out more about this project.

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