Yellow Springs senior gets a soccer education

09/17/2009

YELLOW SPRINGS — Alexis Onfroy learned what soccer skills look like when you practice 12 hours a day.

The Yellow Springs High School senior spent 26 days in August teaching English to sixth-grade students at Ecole Des Sciences, a boarding school in Byimana, Rwanda.

He also played in Kigali, Rwanda, with some former Yellow Springs exchange students.

“We’d go to the field at 7 a.m., and there were already 50 kids there,” Onfroy said. “It was an all-dirt field. The goals had no nets. We played 11-on-11, and they were extremely good. I’m sure if I picked the 11 best players and we came here, we’d win state. There’s no doubt about it.”

Onfroy taught English at the boarding school, which houses 820 students in dormitories.

He called the experience “amazing.”

“I had 50 kids in my class, and some of them were as old as me or older,” Onfroy said. “It was difficult because we were supposed to work with them in pronunciation. When you have 50 kids, that’s really difficult.”

Onfroy has played a huge role in the success of the Bulldogs program over the past two seasons. He’s a left-footed player who can play anywhere on the field, including stopper and sweeper. But he’s best on the left side of midfield or at left striker.

“It’s been a real luxury,” said Yellow Springs coach Jim Hardman. “He can always take care of that side of the field. He knows the game really well.”

With Onfroy missing most of the preseason, the Bulldogs were left wondering what their team would like when he returned.

They started the season 0-2, but won three in a row, including big wins over West Liberty-Salem, Greenon and Lehman Catholic. The Bulldogs (4-4) are 1-2 since the three-game winning streak.

Onfroy is a French citizen who lives in the United States with a green card. He was born in Paris, but moved to the United States with his mother, VA, when he was 2 years old.

He’s also been a standout track and cross country star for the Bulldogs. But he plans studying in France next spring, where he hopes to play soccer.

With the loss of several good players from last year’s squad, Onfroy knows he’ll have to create more scoring opportunities this fall.

“I’ve been lucky (to have good teammates), but I have to give credit (to Coach Hardman),” Onfroy said. “He started FC Springs when I was 7. He started a club team, and this is the result, the past four years. I’m the last generation of players from that club team. It’s his doing.”