- For 10 years, Forge FC has been coaching talented Homestead kids"the beautiful game" for them to achieve a "beautiful life."
American youth soccer is dominated by a culture of “win at all cost,” often at the sacrifice of integral player development. Coaches build teams for the sake of entering tournaments or “winning a state cup,” regardless of other skills that are fundamental for developing a player. Although winning and succeeding in competition is essential at Forge FC, “Kicking the ball forwards is not our driving force; what really motivates us is to help kids become good people and succeed in life,” says Juan Diaz, founder and director of Forge FC, a soccer academy that has been coaching youths in Homestead for 10 years.
They created a program that not only focuses on physical training and developing soccer skills and techniques in a structured manner but, most importantly, providing a way for kids to stay off the street, and if they have the potential, setting the foundations for them to get into college or university by way of soccer.
Through the program, children get coached by skilled and caring professionals in a structured format and setting. And even though the program is not free of charge, their goal is to remove the economic barrier and ensure no child is denied the opportunity to play team sports because they cannot afford the expense.
Homestead is not a privileged community, in fact, it has a poverty rate of 27.1% Hence, creating opportunities for these children to rise above the cycle of poverty and achieve success in life represents a crucial need.
“Our dropout rate is high mainly because there is no guidance; starting training and joining the academy is easy, but finishing is difficult,” says Juan Diaz. “We help kids to focus on what they really want in life, to achieve their goals through discipline, and sometimes soccer is an alternative to change their circumstances.”
Forge FC has graduated several alumni that have made it to NCAA Division 1 and 2, but additionally, many of them have followed a stable path in life. “We have kids that have grown up to join the military, others are police officers, and many of them are going to college. We have to be aware that in our community, for a migrant worker that lives in a labor camp, to make it to junior college is huge,” he added.
The football club (FC) has around 100 students between the ages 4 and 18, and only about 60% pay the program fees. “Therefore, we depend on funding and sponsorships to cover the equipment, soccer field, coaches’ fees, and thus we are able to provide training to talented kids that may not have sufficient means to cover the program’s cost but have thriving opportunities coming ahead in life,” concluded Mr. Diaz.
If you want to reach out and help, get in touch with Forge FC at 305-979-5505 or visit www.forgefc.club.
Haz clic para leer en Español: El fútbol como camino para triunfar en la vida