Growing up in the small town of Midway, Utah, sophomore Ella Ballstaedt of the University of Utah soccer team has always felt blessed. She feels giving back to those who may not have had the same oppor- tunities she had is the least she can do.
“I’ve always been raised to serve other people and help other people,” Ballstaedt said. “I think if I am fortunate enough to have a healthy body and I am able to help other people, then I should.”
In the town where Ballstaedt grew up, she has seen soccer receive more and more recognition over the years. She came up with the idea to organize a soccer clinic for young girls every summer. She wants to be an example to those girls she teaches, and she wants them to have similar opportunities they can take advantage of, just like she had when she was their age.
While trying to build their con- fidence to help them on the field, Ballstaedt focuses on executing drills with those at the camps. Ballstaedt enjoys working with young players who have big dreams.
Her desire to want to help others succeed is something head coach Rich Manning has noticed.
“I think Ella is a very generous person,” Manning said. “She brings a lot of warmth and energy to every- thing that she does. I think when she is involved in things like that, she brings happiness to a lot of people. I think Ella represents a lot of players on the team and the spirit of the team.”
The summer soccer clinics aren’t the only thing that Ballstaedt spends her time doing. She also volunteers with Pipeline To A Cure, a fundraiser that’s dedicated to helping nd a cure for cystic brosis. The event is held annu- ally in Huntington Beach, California, and it is going into its 10th year.
The fundraiser has received more than $3.5 million in revenue to stop and prevent the progressive genetic disease that leads to lung infections and even- tually a limited ability to breathe.
Every year, Ballstaedt and her family go to southern California where they participate in silent auctions and other charitable activities.
“I had no idea what cystic brosis was,” Ballstaedt said. “So it was inter- esting to be able to learn about that and be able to spread awareness to stuff like that, too, because it’s pretty easy to help out.”
Ballstaedt has experienced that when people are down on themselves, reaching out makes them feel better. Ballstaedt believes people all need help at some point in life, and that if some- body helps another person, that act is then reciprocated and the person who received help will go do something kind for someone else.
“I think all of the players look at Ella — and other people as well — and think that it’s great that she is doing [the soccer clinic] so they want to start doing it, too,” Manning said. “They learn from each other in that way.”
In the future, Ballstaedt wants to start a non-pro t organization for soc- cer. She wants to travel to third-world countries and less af uent cities in the United States to help those who want to play the game she loves.