Volunteer spotlight: David Shams, building community through soccer


DC SCORES has more than 500 volunteers who help make our program possible for 2,500 low-income DC kids. From assistant coaching, to tackling our big events, to providing expert services and advice, to folding newsletters in our office, to reffing weekly soccer games, to taking photos and videos, and much more, our volunteers make a difference in many ways and with varying schedules. David Shams is a writer and avid D.C. United supporter who felt the desire to give back to his community by doing what he loves - coaching. He is in his first season coaching soccer at Brightwood Education Campus for the middle school team. Recently, David took time off to chat with us about his DC SCORES volunteering experience.

What is your day job? I’m a writer. Currently, I have a few ongoing projects. First, I’m providing research and chapter writing for a book about Iran. Once I’m finished, I’ll be able to devote more time to the novel I’m writing. A longer-term project is a narrative non-fiction work which focuses on growing up in Kentucky being Iranian-American. And lastly, I also often write about foreign policy for various publications.

How did you first get involved with DC SCORES? My wife and I wanted to make a donation as a favor for our guests at our wedding this past summer. D.C. United was hosting a fundraiser through its season-ticket holder network. Both of us were really impressed with what DC SCORES was doing. After we donated, we reached out to DC SCORES to see how we could deepen our relationship.

How has your time with DC SCORES impacted you? DC SCORES has allowed me to get involved in coaching again. I used to coach in Kentucky, but since moving to DC I’ve had to put that on hold. But in another sense, it’s provided me with an opportunity to give back to the community and to feel a greater sense of accomplishment, even if the impact is small.

Can you share a favorite memory? There are so many already, it’s hard to choose one. But for me, finally breaking the ice with the kids through talking about our favorite teams – using that to build rapport with the kids.

What do you do in your free time? Well, if I’m not writing or doing DC SCORES stuff, I’m usually at the gym, reading something, watching soccer, having dinner with my wife, or out with friends.

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