Eighteen soccer players from Eastern Pennsylvania were honored during the annual Union League of Philadelphia Good Citizenship Award Dinner on March 29.
The high school juniors spent the day at the Union League in Center City engaging in debate and discussion based on current constitutional issues, heard from speakers and past Good Citizenship Award recipients and networked with fellow students.
A total of 240 students were recognized during an evening dinner program at the league's historic building on Broad Street as part of their 77th Good Citizen Day activities.
"I think there are a lot of overlapping values in being a good citizen on and off the soccer field," said Vanesa Aguay from ACFC Soccer Academy. "On the field you learn how to work with people and build community and then outside of the field you are part of other communities where you can apply similar leadership qualities and skills toward being a better citizen."
The group from Eastern Pennsylvania filled two tables for the dinner, where they were joined by members of the Union League. The members presented each of the recipients with medals and certificates. The awardees were also surprised with a check for $120 in their award packet.
"I feel like I learned a lot from this experience and it was a great honor to get this award," said Bennett Schweickert from FC Delco. "It was also nice to meet other players who share my values and are pushing themselves academically and in the community to be better people."
Pete Gutekunst, who grew up playing soccer in Eastern PA, was one of the table hosts.
"This is an outstanding group of kids," Gutekunst said. "They really walked away with a good understanding of the United States Constitution, what the Union League stands for and we've educated a group of great citizens that are going to lead our country into the future."
The Union League of Philadelphia was founded in 1862 as a patriotic society to support the policies of Abraham Lincoln and today has more than 4,000 members. Their Center City home was built in 1865 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
2023 Good Citizenship Award Winners
- Abigail McDonald, FC Delco
- Ava Wells, Western Lehigh United
- Bennett Schweickert, FC Delco
- Devyn Cohen, Colonial Soccer Club
- Grace Davis, Shippensburg Soccer Club
- Haley Lewinski, FC Delco
- Hayden Dallam, PA Classics
- Jacob Jezyk, Towamencin Soccer Club
- Jonah Ahlers, L.E. Sporting United
- Khue Nguyen, Haverford Soccer Club
- Leo Ouyang, FC Delco
- Makenna Koser, North Union United
- Marisa Francione, FC Europa
- Natalie Hillis, FC Delco
- Samantha Walkiewicz, Keystone Athletic
- Sofia Fisher, FC Delco
- Vanesa Aguay, ACFC Soccer Academy
- William Hall, 1776 United