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Exchange Student Plays America's Favorite Sport

November 9, 2011, 10:04 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Exchange Student Plays America's Favorite Sport
WAVERLY, SD - There's nothing quite like heading to the dome to compete for a state title in high school football. Some have been waiting for that chance since they were five years old.

But a Waverly/South Shore senior is anxiously waiting for his title chance this weekend. Only, he's just had that goal for a matter of weeks.

There's plenty of talent filling the roster of the championship contender team of Waverly/South Shore. There is group of seniors who've played together for years and then there's Virgil Leclercq.

"I wanted to do football. It's like the typical American sport so I really wanted to do that," Leclercq said.

Leclercq is a foreign exchange student from Belgium. When he signed up for the program, he hoped to land on a coast. Instead, he got Waverly, South Dakota.

"My first reaction was to go on Google map to see my house and that I didn't have any neighbors. It was like my house and the country, the country, the country," Leclercq said.

And he wasn't sure what he had gotten himself into. But he’s happy things worked out the way they did.

"He's a great kid. He's never played the game of football; he's never played a game that's involved a ball," coach Billy Kirch said.

And Kirch has liked what he's seen from his foreign exchange senior so far. He's gotten to play as a kicker and on defense throughout the season. He enjoys it too.

"Yeah, I do even though it's sometimes painful," Leclercq said.

"Being around Virgil's a blast; he's just a sponge. He wants to learn everything there is to know about the game. The first week of practice he was out there with notebook and a pencil, taking notes on plays and formations," Kirch said.

And even though he won't go home having spent his time in the United States on the coast, he can go back with real American football injuries.

"Yeah, shin splints and now I have stress fracture," Leclercq said.

And he can brag about his time in a real American high school football championship game.

Waverly/South Shore takes on Avon for the state title on Friday.

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