Soccer For Success started in 2011 at four schools in El Monte: Columbia, Durfee, Kranz, and Madrid middle schools. Jose Vega, Operations Manager for Our Saviour Center, has headed the program since its inception and continues to ensure its success. Each school season, Soccer for Success brings twice-weekly 90-minute sessions to children’s schools, teaching about the game of soccer and healthy nutrition. Every child is provided not only with positive mentoring, coaching, and how to engage in strong team sportsmanship, but also every player receives a kit that includes a jersey, soccer ball, and shin guards.
“It’s been a pleasure to see so many youngsters learn about ‘the beautiful game,’ building skillsets and confidence that helps them on the field and in school. In a post-pandemic era, it’s an even greater pleasure to see how much interest there is for the sport in our community,” Jose says. Rightly so, as the Soccer for Success program has grown immensely. Today, it is provided at fourteen schools in El Monte, including Cleminson, Cortada, Cherrylee, Durfee, Columbia, Gidley, Legore, New Lexington, Potrero, Rio Hondo, Rio Vista, Shirpser, and Wilkerson elementary schools, and Frank Wright Middle School. The initial goal was to enroll 500 children. Today, nearly 700 children participate, making the program more fun and inclusive.
Twenty-two coaches, including six women coaches, make up Soccer for Success’s staff; all but one were born and raised in El Monte, and ten are child Soccer for Success alumni. The program acts as a feeder academy for players who go on to play JV and varsity high school soccer. Beginning Saturdays in late October, Soccer for Success will begin intramural-style games, with schools meeting one another on the field, culminating in a middle school tournament in the Spring of 2023 to crown a 2022–2023 champion.
To learn more about Soccer for Success, or to volunteer or donate, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (626) 669-8916.