Foreign soccer players hold alternative summer job

By Mari Pothier |
Photo by Philip C. Sunkel IV

While most students were away from Flagler, Conor Killeen and Adam Jackson spent their summer painting the campus buildings.

Killeen from Dublin, Ireland and Jackson from Nottingham, England, both play for Flagler College men’s soccer team.

Ron Dacko, the painting supervisor to Flagler College, and a few of the men’s soccer players from foreign countries, tackle the job each summer. Dacko said he was getting too old to handle the job all on his own.

Around six years ago, Dacko and John Lynch, head coach of the men’s soccer team, came up with this program that provides international students on campus jobs during the summer.

“It’s been pretty popular among the international students,” Dacko said.

Killeen and Jackson explained that their visas do not allow them to work off campus. The only jobs they are allowed to have are on campus.

“Everyone else has the opportunity to get jobs, at outlet stores, where ever they want.” Killeen said. “We’re limited to just campus: painting, maintenance and housekeeping.”

According to Killeen, a senior, and Jackson, a sophomore, they worked from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. everyday.

“There was a lot of overtime available so some weekdays we would work from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.” Killeen said. “We worked pretty much every weekend: Saturday and Sunday.”

According to Dacko, he really enjoys working with the students.

“They’re great, energetic, enthusiastic; I mean basically their work ethic is fantastic,” he said.

Both Killeen and Jackson enjoyed their job. Killeen’s first assignment last summer was to paint the two tower doors. While painting, he was able to see the old communication rooms and had a great view of St. Augustine.

“They get to see parts of this college most people don’t, which they find interesting,” Dacko said.

Due to the construction in Ponce, Killeen and Jackson constantly repainted the dorms because the builders kept ruining their paint job.

“We were on the second floor for a month,” Killeen said.

One of the reasons Killeen and Jackson stayed here for the summer was for the money. They explained that the economy back in Europe is not good and the job here was a guarantee. They also were able to work on their upcoming soccer season.

“Being off at 2 o’clock everyday just gives us a good opportunity to get our work in and stay used to the climate and the heat so we wouldn’t have to recuperate to it,” Killeen said.

According to Killeen and Jackson if they could go home they would. Both have not been home in a year and are looking forward to going back at Christmas.

“I wish I could go home,” Jackson said. “Obviously, it was my first summer here, like this is the longest I’ve spent away from family so it’s a lot different, but also it’s good because, like he said, we get to stay with the boys and everything, so it’s more relaxing.”

Dacko hopes the program continues and that Lynch keeps supplying him with good players.

“What I like about it is that when these young people leave, they always seem to call,” he said. “I have no kids, but it’s like having kids.”

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