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Adelante’s Youth Soccer Team Heads to DC Tournament
The Avance Center’s Adelante intervention has a youth soccer team! The program was first conceived as a weekly recreational summer program for kids to practice their soccer skills and get exercise. Now, the team has grown in popularity and is participating in the DC Youth Soccer Tournament, organized by Collaborative Solutions for Communities.
It’s difficult for youth in Langley Park, MD to participate in recreational sports, unless they pay or have a high level of skill. Another barrier to playing sports is lack of equipment and fields to play on. By partnering with local organizations, Adelante was able to make the soccer team a success. Leveling the Playing Field (LPF) is an organization that puts sports equipment in the hands of those less fortunate by donating used sports equipment. LPF donated cleats, shin guards, gloves, soccer balls, and practice jerseys to the team! To address the issue of practice space, Adelante partnered with the parent-led Dreamer’s Academy in Takoma Park, MD and was able to get a field permit. Now, Adelante is one of the few programs that allows youth to play sports without any fees. The soccer uniforms, provided by the Avance Center, are just the icing on the cake. The team is going into the tournament looking and feeling confident!
The soccer team is led by Coach Ronald, a former Maryland Multicultural Youth Center case manager and self-proclaimed soccer fanatic. The team has about 20-25 youth on the team, but there is a long waitlist of interested players. “I’ve never been so popular in my life,” says Adelante Program Coordinator, Angela Gonzalez, who manages the team. “I get phone calls, texts, and Facebook messages of youth asking to join the team all the time.”
Over the past few months the Adelante soccer team has turned into more than just a recreational sport. It’s a place for youth to have fun and bond with their peers. It’s also a way for many to connect with where they come from, with their heritage and culture. In addition, the team has connected with the community by holding friendly matches with other youth in the area and participated in an event held by the Dreamer’s Academy to honor a child that was hit by a car last year. It’s this community connection that makes the Adelante soccer team so special. We wish them luck in their tournament!