The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Earn Your Spots book club connects soccer players with local students

Members+of+the+mens+soccer+team+has+been+reading+books+about+teamwork+to+the+students.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Lawrence+Aydlett+25%29
Members of the men’s soccer team has been reading books about teamwork to the students. (Photo courtesy of Lawrence Aydlett ’25)

While the men’s soccer team’s season may have concluded, the team remains in action in a different field: the world of books. The Earn Your Spots Book Club, created by head coach Dennis Bohn, is an initiative that allows the soccer team to interact with students from local schools — namely Cheston and Paxinosa Elementary schools — to promote reading and to interact with the community.

The efforts of the club are spearheaded by senior defender Eric Ponieman, junior forward Lawrence Aydlett and sophomore goalkeeper Eric Axtman.

According to Axtman, the club’s activities are reflective of the team’s commitment to community service.

“It’s something that everyone takes pride in,” Axtman said. “It rewards everybody — the coaches, the players and the kids.”

Aydlett drew on his experience as an older sibling for inspiration for his participation in the club.

“I enjoyed and had fun reading to my little sister and helping her with her work, so I believed that reading to children in Easton would be a similar experience for me,” Aydlett wrote in an email. “That’s why I decided to get involved.”

Before the club could get started, the leadership group had to select books to read to students that followed a particular theme. This year’s theme is teamwork, which Axtman said is right up the team’s alley.

“It helps us tie it into sports a little bit more,” Axtman said. “It’s a great way to engage the young people of Easton and make them aware of Lafayette soccer and Lafayette sports.”

One of this year’s books is “Shame, Shame, Shame! We Could Have Won the Game,” by Noel Hightower. Hightower is an Easton-area native who previously worked as an assistant coach for the Lehigh men’s basketball team. The book tells the story of Myles Mikey, a star basketball player who has to learn the lessons of teamwork and leadership to help his team of elementary school students defeat their teachers.

According to Aydlett, the book is a hit with the students.

“One moment that I remember would be a student asking if he could keep the book,” Aydlett wrote. “I handed him a copy at the end and he started jumping around the class.”

Both Aydlett and Axtman expressed how much of a gratifying experience working with the students has been.

“I feel as if this has helped the team bond,” Aydlett wrote. “A lot of times two members of our team will be grouped together to read to the classrooms, and that experience helps us grow closer.”

“For those students, it makes them really excited which in turn makes us all much more excited to do it,” Axtman said. “It’s just another experience you get to share with the guys on your team.”

Both Aydlett and Axtman stressed how much of an emphasis the team, and particularly Bohn, place on community service.

“Community outreach is very important to our team because it helps us on and off the field,” Aydlett wrote. “Expanding our community outreach helps us to have more people cheering us on and creating connections that benefit both us and the community.”

The book club is an effort that encompasses all of the men’s soccer pantheon, with coaches, players and alumni all coming together to help serve the greater community.

“It’s not just about the people who are here,” Axtman said. “From a culture aspect, that’s what Lafayette soccer is all about.”

Disclaimer: Assistant sports editor Eric Ponieman ’24 is a member of the men’s soccer team. He did not contribute writing or reporting. 

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About the Contributor
Martin Familetti, Staff Sports Writer
Come On You Spurs.

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