At the age of 13, Daniel joined Soccer for Success. He joined to play soccer, not knowing the mentorship and support he would also receive. While at times he could have a rebellious attitude of his own, Daniel was always respectful to his team and coach-mentors.
After two years, he graduated from Soccer for Success and began high school. Even though he was no longer a Soccer for Success participant, Daniel stayed in touch with his coach-mentors for support and mentorship.
During the fall of his senior year, when senior projects were introduced, Daniel knew exactly what he wanted to do for his project. Daniel drafted a proposal to his former coach-mentor proposing that he return to the same program he was a part of, this time as a volunteer coach-mentor.
“Not many of our former players have stayed as dedicated and involved in the program as Daniel,” said Alejandra Jurado, Program Manager for Illinois Youth Soccer.
When the spring Soccer for Success season began, Daniel was there, this time as a volunteer coach-mentor, helping teach the curriculum he had once learned as a participant. He loved serving as a mentor and supporting his players, just like his coach-mentors did for him in Soccer for Success.
A special component of his senior project was that he was coaching alongside several of his original coach-mentors. Now, he continued to be mentored, but with a focus on how to be an effective role-model, teacher and coach to others.
When the season ended and Daniel completed his senior project, he agreed to volunteer again in the fall. Taking the advice of his coach-mentors, Daniel received his National E coaching license over the summer, learning additional best practices for being a coach and mentor.
During the next fall season, Daniel continued as a coach-mentor at the same program site and was given the opportunity to be the Head Coach at another Soccer for Success site.
“We know the program helps to keep youth away from the streets and love the dedication he has given to the program,” said Alejandra. “He is a true example of dedication and commitment to our program.”