Former soccer star Doc Lawson is helping kids in Liberia

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by Web Producer

wfaa.com

Posted on March 6, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Doc Lawson is a former Dallas Sidekicks defender who has taken on a major project that will take him back to Liberia. "You've got lots of wonderful children wanting something to do," Lawson says. "What better way than through sports. Liberia is a country located in Africa. He's trying to help the Liberian government set up the infrastructure for a parks and recreation department. "We've got 19 facilities that exist throughout Liberia. That's not enough so we need to build more facilities and we need a program to connect everything," Lawson says. Sports fans will remember Lawson as a member of the Sidekicks. He lead them to a league championship back in the 1986-87 season. But now his focus is on Liberia, his native country which endured two civil wars the last two decades. It left 65 percent of its population under the age of 19. He spend the entire month of December there before coming back to decide his course of action. He met with kids, even holding soccer camps. "The power of athletics and sports is enormous," he says. "Sports has this wonderful ability to unite, lift up, inspire, drive. All of these things will be part of what we want to plant in Liberia. "We're going to add an educational value to that." "Kids just need a place to play," Lawson says. "You need games, you need activity, you need something to do after school, and you need something to do on weekends. It's the same stuff we do here that connects us as a community, a society and that's where I come in." Lawson sees it as a 10 year, 1-hundred million dollar project and has partnered with the YMCA. Money will still have to be raised to fulfill the project. He says the government does not have the money to do it by themselves. "The YMCA in Liberia has been in existence for over a hundred years, and they have facilities and structures already in existence but they just be magnified." Starting projects like this is not new for Lawson. More than 30 years ago, he started an inner city soccer program in Philadelphia. "If we can affect the lives of these children, if we can effect change through this generation, then Liberia will take a new course for generations. Lawson will start his project this fall when he returns to Liberia. His first extended stay is expected to last at least six months.

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