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Matheau the Mentor | Former pro soccer player finds new love as positive influence for kids in Hampton Roads

Calls for better youth mentorship and leadership often follow after acts of violence involving young adults. Matheau Dupe Hall wants to set the example early on.

NORFOLK, Va. — No matter how old Matheau Dupe Hall gets, there's a familiar love every time he strikes a soccer ball.

"This was my bread and butter right here," Hall said.

Hall, a Hampton Roads native, grew up with a natural love for the game. He played soccer at Lake Taylor High School before playing collegiate soccer at Grand Canyon University.

“Used to practice at 12 at night in the gym. Would be by myself just knocking a ball against a wall. Just what I wanted to do," Hall said. 

It’s a love that opened doors for him professionally, playing internationally in leagues in Denmark, Germany, Mexico as well as the MLS in the United States, which includes a stint with the LA Galaxy. 

“The most common played sport across the world. It brings cultures together, people together. It breaks barriers," he said.

But after years of jumping leagues and jumping borders, Hall decided it was time to settle down, and be closer to his family.

And even though his years-long career as a professional and semi-pro soccer player is behind him, Hall hasn’t exactly hung up his cleats either. His love for the game has only grown in a new space.

“Once I got to the first school, I was like 'This is what I want to do,'" Hall said. 

Since the beginning of the academic school year, Hall has decided to volunteer his time at elementary schools across Norfolk, for the simple task of being a positive influence in young kids' lives.

Hall spent time at the after-school (and sometimes before-school) programs at Bayview, Crossroads and Richard Bowling Elementary schools one month at a time, coming three times a week over a three-week span.

All of which he did on his own time while unpaid. 

“There shouldn’t be a price for that. It shouldn’t be 'Pay me 100 dollars and I'll teach them,'" Halls said. 

He hopes kids see him as more than just a soccer coach. He hopes kids see him as more of a mentor and positive influence than anything else. 

“I’ve now walked into 90 kids' lives in three months. Now 90 kids look at me as someone they appreciate: a figure. Not necessarily a father figure but just a figure that’s a positive influence," Hall said. 

His goal is to expand the number of school divisions and after-school programs he volunteers at. His hope is to be a small reminder that even one person can make a difference in someone's life. 

“They say ‘I know dupe, he does XYZ in my community. We all can’t be Pharrell, Timbaland and Pusha T, but maybe the grassroots version of them," Hall said.

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