I am the Soccer Director for a youth soccer club unlike any other. My players come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Egypt, Mexico, Sudan, Guatemala, Ethiopia, and the Philippines. My players have lost loved ones and suffered unspeakable trauma. My players have lived in refugee camps and detention centers. My players have traveled thousands of miles to escape war, violence, and poverty, and rebuild their lives in the United States. My players’ families’ median house-hold income is $15,000 below the poverty line in San Diego. My players’ journey is just beginning.
My club is YALLA. YALLA’s mission is to help war refugee and immigrant youth rebuild their lives with the ultimate goal of college admission. YALLA uses soccer as the hook to bring kids into its academic program. The academic program utilizes the latest education software to improve the English literacy of our student-athletes. YALLA provides a comprehensive college-prep program and leadership and character development programs. Our outcomes are legitimate: in just 4 months, nearly 80% of our K-8 scholar-athletes improved their reading comprehension by at least one grade level, and 21 of 22 college-bound seniors got accepted to four year colleges with an average of $19,000 in scholarships.
YALLA also provides year-round recreational and competitive level soccer programs. YALLA provides these programs cost-free (competitive level male soccer players are asked to pay $100/year to encourage their commitment). Our competitive program competes against the top club teams in San Diego, trains three times a week, plays games on Saturday, and in-house Street Soccer on Sundays. 80 players participate in our competitive program while 160-200 participate in our recreational program.
I am committed to providing a first-class soccer experience for YALLA’s players including development, competition, and curriculum to rival any pay-to-play club. YALLA’s players cannot afford to play for even the cheapest clubs, none of which include the academic, literacy, college-prep, leadership, and character development programs we provide. YALLA also trains its older scholar-athletes in leadership development and soccer coaching, empowering them to serve as mentors and coaches to YALLA’s younger refugee generations. In this way, YALLA seeks to include and serve the underserved and neglected minority communities.
WE ARE IN DIRE NEED OF FUNDING THIS YEAR. PLEASE HELP NOW.
If you believe, like I do, in the following principles, please DONATE NOW to ensure our mission continues:
* I believe soccer can serve as a catalyst for personal and community development.
* I believe the current pay-to-play youth soccer model neglects the poor and under-represented communities.
* I believe the currency of youth soccer should be passion and commitment, not dollars and cents.
* I believe that removing unnecessary barriers to sports and education will benefit our society as a whole.