KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Carly Richardson and Josh Wells were recognized as the Select Sport America – Champions of Character scholarship winners at the National Soccer Coaches' Association of America (NSCAA) National Convention on Jan. 17 in Philadelphia, Pa.
Richardson and Wells were selected from a pool of nominees at their respective NAIA Soccer National Championships and were chosen because they exemplify the NAIA's five core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.
Richardson, a sophomore midfielder for Westmont (Calif.), organized a team service event, where the Westmont women's soccer team spent a day volunteering at a Special Olympics soccer tournament. But to head coach Kristi Kiely, Richardson shows her character even more in her day-to-day actions.
"It's not in the big moments that Carly displays her character, although she often finds herself in those as she did planning the Special Olympics day, it's in the day-to-day that she shows up. Carly's character is revealed in the ordinary, the everyday, bringing someone a meal, the listening ear, the challenging conversation, the extra work, the example," Kiely said.
Wells, a senior goalkeeper for Missouri Valley, spends his free time serving others. He volunteers with local youth sports organizations and camps, organizes intramural sports at Missouri Valley and helps his parents foster children from Afghanistan, Albania and Africa when he's home in Kent, England.
Wells' servant leadership translates to practice, where he is always striving to help others improve. "Josh is a player that will help motivate players through positive reinforcement, trying to get the best out of each individual. This positivity has helped keep the cohesion of the program strong," said Andy Pulverenti, Missouri Valley Sports Information Director.
As part of this award, the NAIA—on behalf of Select Sport America—contributes a $1,000 scholarship to Westmont and Missouri Valley in recognition of Richardson and Wells' achievements.
To learn more about the NAIA's Champions of Character program, click here.