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    Men's Soccer Alums Heading To Haiti

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    2809539.jpegFormer Notre Dame standouts Bilal Duckett and Philip Tuttle will be among a group of professional soccer players that will take part in a mission trip to Haiti in December to visit orphanages and conduct soccer clinics to help the children and young adults of the country.

    Haiti, which is located in the Caribbean, has been in need of support ever since a major earthquake ravaged the country in January of 2010. The natural disaster left over 300,000 people dead and 1.6 million people homeless.

    The Vision International Ministries (VIM) is sponsoring the mission. Tuttle's mother, Annette, is in full-time ministry at Shiloh Community Church in Manchester, N.H., and she oversees the mission program there in addition to working with VIM. This will be Annette's fourth trip to Haiti since the earthquake. She has also traveled to the Ukraine, Bulgaria, Russia and the Dominican Republic.

    "VIM uses medical clinics as their main focus while sharing the love of God to the various people they come across," says Philip Tuttle. "However, this trip will focus on preaching the gospel through soccer clinics as well as visiting orphanages to minister to the children. Soccer is the national sport of Haiti so we are excited to have a number of professional players coming with us. There will be 15 people heading down and five of them currently are professional players. I am excited to watch as God uses these players and the game of soccer to minister to the children and young adults of Haiti."

    Tuttle was a goalkeeper for the Irish from 2006-10 and he now plays for the Harrisburg City Islanders of the United Soccer Leagues (USL) PRO. Tuttle played in 33 career games, including 29 starts, with the Irish and he registered a 16-10-4 record with nine shutouts.

    "I have always wanted to go on a mission trip to another country and I'm thankful to be given the opportunity to use a game that has given me so much joy and excitement over the years as a tool to help others in need," adds Tuttle. "This is the first soccer specific trip VIM has ever done and I see it as an exploratory one. When I first asked Bilal (Duckett) about going he didn't hesitate at all. I asked him if he had any plans for the offseason and when I began to explain what my plan was he jumped right on board. Since then the trip has grown.

    "We've had a number of responses from other professional players who share the same passion as us that we've actually had to turn them down due to a lack of accommodations in Haiti. I see this as the first of many trips to different countries all over the world and in the future would like to bring as many Notre Dame players as possible."

    Duckett currently plays for the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer (MLS). The club selected him in the third round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. The Georgia native started 40 of a possible 42 matches at right back during his junior and senior seasons at Notre Dame. Duckett helped the Irish post 14 shutouts during that time.

    "I got on board with the trip quickly because I feel that I've been given a great opportunity as a professional soccer player to give back to the community," states Duckett. "We all heard about the tragic earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Although it's no longer breaking news, there's still a lot to be done for the people in Haiti. We hope that we can bring some joy and supplies to Haitians."

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