Henry Kalungi '09, a member of the Richmond Kickers since the 2009 championship season, and current captain of the squad, has worked in his home country of Uganda during the off-season in an effort to improve the lives of children through soccer. Kalungi is director and co-founder of the Uganda Youth Soccer Academy (UYSA) which is a community based soccer academy established to offer opportunities to the disadvantaged youth of Uganda through soccer and education.
"We started this academy with a goal of helping the orphans from slums and other places to earn a life," said Kalungi. "I go early in the morning on Wednesdays and Saturdays to coach the kids and teach them life skills and to encourage positive decisions."
One of the prominent non-profit soccer academies, UYSA is dedicated to discovering potential in talented players through specific developmental programs for children of all ages. The academy provides professional soccer coaching activities to more than 400 talented boys and girls ages of 3-17, many of whom are orphans or displaced by the northern and eastern war. In addition to soccer, the academy assists the children in attaining basic education while providing leadership training to develop sportsmanship and good values.
"We transform the lives of children who are living in the streets or slums, with a piece of plastic to cover themselves, one meal a day, no school and a poor future with no one to believe in them," adds Ivan Kakembo, UYSA country director. "We inspire them to realize that they are also someone no matter where they came from as orphans."
"I feel the position that I am in right now and the way these kids live, I have to do all that I can through this academy to help change their lives," said Kalungi. "I know it is not easy, but I am determined to help and make sure some of these kids don’t end up back on the streets." Read more on Kalungi's efforts.
Originally from Kampala, Uganda, Kalungi has represented his country for several years as a member of the Uganda National Team. Kalungi played in the recent Uganda National Team's 2-1 win for the CECFA championship for 2012 for central and east African countries. He also joined the national team for the African Cup of Nations 2012 qualifier with Guinea Bissau, held on March 26, 2011.
His former coach, Winthrop head coach Rich Posipanko, is very proud of his accomplishments. "Like Henry has said, it is an honor for any athlete to compete at the highest level and for your country. He deserves everything he gets out of soccer," Posipanko said. "His attitude, his work ethic and his desire to succeed are very professional, and he’s one of the best players I ever coached. I truly think his best years are ahead of him."
Kalungi came to the United States to play for Winthrop, earning honors as All-Big South in 2006, as well as team MVP, Big South All-Tournament Team and NSCAA/adidas All-South Atlantic Region Team.
Prior to joining the Kickers, Kalungi spent a season with the Premier Development League side Fredericksburg Gunners, making 14 appearances and posting four shutouts. In 2009, Kalungi joined the Kickers and earned USL Second Division Player of the Week Honors on two occasions. The 2010 campaign was no different for the Ugandan international, earning another USL-2 Player of the Week nod for his defensive efforts. An advocate for youth player development in Richmond as well, Kalungi acts as a coach for the Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club Advanced Development Program (ADP).
Last updated: 12/13/2012