San Diego Flash's Ladule Lako LoSharah (center) spent time with the kids at the Sherman Heights Community Center. Photo Credit: SD Flash
Soccer News: Flash Host Community Clinic for Underprivileged Kids in Sherman Heights Area
The San Diego Flash have been scoring plenty of goals on the field this season in the successful defense of their National Premier League Soccer (NPSL) West-Southern Conference title, but the goals they have been scoring off the field have brought just as much satisfaction.
As part of the club’s strong focus on community outreach and its soccer for social change principles, the Flash hosted a free community clinic in Sherman Heights in collaboration with the local community center.
The center holds an after school athletic program three days per week with the goal to keep kids in the local neighborhood active, productive and off the streets. This program has seen the creation (and sponsorship) of the Xoloitzcuintles Unidos, an under-15 side that competes in South County recreational leagues.
Flash player Ladule Lako LoSarah turned from goal scorer to mentor for the session and then presented each player with a season pass so they could come and watch the pros in action.
“It was truly a pleasure to work with the young soccer players at the Sherman Heights Community Center,” LoSarah said. “I focused on exposing them to some of the skills and the mentality it takes to succeed at higher levels of the game.”
“At the same time it's a deeply humbling experience,” he continued. “What the kids lack in resources, they more than make up for with passion, enthusiasm, and good spirits. We are the ones who can learn so much from them. It really puts things in perspective and brings up the broader question as to why these kids are underprivileged in the first place.”
Guillermo Mendez, Coach of the Unidos Community Futbol Cooperative, was thrilled for his young charges being given the opportunity to learn directly from representatives of the SD Flash and the additional benefits of having positive role models interact with them on their own turf.
“We sincerely thank both Ladule and the Flash for taking the time to come and visit the kids,” said Mendez. “The power of these clinics can never be underestimated as it highlights the importance of positive reinforcement and the pathways and opportunities available to them in life. These life lessons are extremely beneficial to their ongoing development for a number of reasons. Besides learning to win and lose with honor, the kids assimilate the value of respect, commitment, dedication, collaboration, and responsibility.”
“The Centers youth leadership program also identifies the skills learned in sports and applies them to academics and civic culture,” Mendez explained. “Players are required to keep their grades up and are encouraged to study in the Center's after-school tutoring program to help them do that.”
The center provides these services for free but relies on the support of the broader community to help keep it running. They are in urgent need of equipment, uniforms and funds for registration and referee costs.
The San Diego Flash are encouraging residents and businesses of the city to get in contact with the Sherman Heights Community Center to see how you can help motivate and prepare these young people so they can keep moving forward in a positive manner. For more information please contact Ben Rivera at 619-735-3982 or the Sherman Heights Community Center directly at 619-232-5181. Donations are tax deductible.
Related Article: San Diego Flash Give Back