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Spirit of Football Heads to Campus

Soccer's equivalent to the Olympic torch is coming to Mercersburg Academy.

"The Ball," Spirit of Football's symbol to raise awareness for global issues, will be presented at an all-school meeting honoring international students on Friday, September 9. 

The presentation will coincide with the welcoming of the countries represented in the school's student body. 

Soccer is an effective channel for the message of global unification because of the dynamic nature of the game, says Syd Caretti P '24, '26, Mercersburg arts faculty and director of galleries. "It's important that we think bigger than ourselves."

During the meeting, Miles Maggioncalda '23 will sign The Ball, demonstrate a header, and make a climate pledge. Maggioncalda, a member of the varsity soccer team, is focusing on global issues as part of his Springboard senior capstone project

The Ball will circulate around campus during the afternoon, as students participate in performance group activities (PGAs), which include community engagement, sports practices, and arts rehearsals. Students and faculty will be invited to sign and head The Ball.

Community members and other adults can attend a kick-off party and auction Thursday, September 8, from 7 to 10 p.m. at Liquid Art Brewing Company (formerly Roy Pitz Brewing Company) in Chambersburg, PA.

Mercersburg's students, faculty, staff, and greater community are invited to attend an art reception which is being held in conjunction with Spirit of Football on Friday, September 9, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Students from community engagement will also attend a Washington (D.C.) Spirit professional soccer game in Alexandria, VA, on September 10 with the Dreams for Kids foundation.

One World, One Ball

Karli Richards Stenger '97 and her husband, Scott Stenger, are serving as Spirit of Football ambassadors and assisted with bringing The Ball to Mercersburg.

The collaboration of the school and the Mercersburg Historical Society has inspired "One World, One Ball," the theme for the 2022 Nancy Horton Heefner Memorial Art Show. Local artists were encouraged to submit their work by contacting Caretti.

"The altruistic vision of the Spirit of Football (and founder Andrew Aris) to collaborate, connect, and value every being worldwide with The Ball is a brilliant encapsulation of idyllic beauty and much needed harmony," Caretti says. "Mercersburg and anyone who would like to be involved is welcome to join the mission: One Ball, One World!"

Following dinner on Friday, The Ball will be on hand at an art reception in the Cofrin Gallery for the non-juried exhibition. On display through October 1, the exhibit features 15 local artists–students, faculty, staff, and community members.

"One Ball, One World," is inspired by The Spirit of Football (soccer) and its initiative to harmonize the world with respect to teamwork and by bringing attention to climate issues, gender equality, and the war in Ukraine.

Heefner, a teacher, artist, and author, taught art history, drawing, and ceramics at the Academy for 22 years and was head of the art department for seven years, retiring in 1994. She attended McConnellsburg High School and graduated from Fairfax Hall in Waynesboro, VA. Heefner earned a degree in fine arts from Wilson College and did postgraduate work at Alfred University in New York and San Francisco State University. She passed away in 2001.

Her husband, Tom '57, is a Mercersburg alumnus and a former member of the school's Alumni Council.

The Ball left Battersea Park in London on July 10, and will make several stops on its way to the FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023. While the Ball typically travels to the FIFA Men's World Cup, it is heading to the Women's World Cup this year to acknowledge the contribution women bring to the sport of soccer, which is called football in most countries, except for the United States.