Crew 'keeper holds clinic for NC shelter

William Hesmer raises money for local shelter in North Carolina

This offseason, Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer has been keeping quite busy. Most of his days are spent rehabbing the shoulder he fractured on Oct. 24 but he will take time this month to hold a soccer clinic in his home town of Wilson, North Carolina.

The clinic, named “Playing for Peace”, benefits the Wesley Shelter, a local shelter for women run by Hesmer’s mother Janet, and will take place on Dec. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Gillette Soccer Fields in Wilson.

“This is the third year we’re doing this,” the Crew keeper said. “We are backed by the United Way and I like to be able to give back to the community.”

Hesmer started the clinic three years ago as a way to help the shelter after his mother took it over and was searching for ways to keep it afloat during hard economic times.

“William volunteered to do this but with one stipulation,” Mrs. Hesmer said. “Even though it is primarily a fundraiser for the shelter, he asked that we invite at least 30 children from underprivileged youth organizations so he could help out the community that gave him so much growing up.”

Participation has been good and attendance has been growing every year.

“Turnout has been amazing,” Hesmer continued. “Sometimes we have to work around the weather and the youth tournaments, but we are still able to raise a lot of money with the clinic and the auction of signed memorabilia my MLS friends have donated.”

Each year Hesmer enlists the help of local and Major League Soccer players to help him out.

“I try to get as many local players as possible,” said Hesmer. “Players who have gone on to be professionals or who have had really good college careers. I also bring in a Major League Soccer player to help. Last year we had Jason Garey and this year Brian Carroll is joining me.”

Phillip Long, a former professional player and youth club teammate of William’s said, “Parents and children really enjoy soccer here. We have a very strong sense of soccer and love to be around it so I jumped at the opportunity to work with William on this.” Long recently founded Progressions Soccer Academy in Wilson to continue to help grow the area’s soccer community.

“Soccer is huge here in Wilson,” Hesmer said. “This is a way for me to teach younger kids what I have been taught throughout my career and to give something back to the community that has helped me get to where I am today.”

For more information on the “Playing for Peace” clinic or to donate to the shelter please visit www.playingforpeacesoccer.com.