Sweetwater Police Athletic League Opens Youth Soccer Program

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Manny Saavedra soccer practice coach
Sweetwater Police Officer Manny Saavedra coaches a group of kids during soccer practice
  • Sweetwater Police officers have donated resources to make soccer program possible
  • Made Possible by Sweetwater Police Athletic League and the Office of Mayor Jose M. Diaz

Sweetwater, FL – The Sweetwater Police Athletic League and Mayor Jose Diaz have put together a soccer program for kids in Sweetwater. The program helps local kids benefit from the efforts of a group of passionate volunteers promoting youth sports in Sweetwater’s Ronselli Park.

Odalys Hernandez, a resident of Sweetwater for 2 years, enrolled her 12 year-old son in the soccer program. It is his first time playing organized youth soccer, “It’s a very interesting program, it’s very good. The kids are mentored by coaches that will teach them good things relating to sports. They’re able to establish a connection with police officers, (the officers) will be more accessible and (the kids) can ask whatever questions they have. My son is very happy”, said Hernandez.

The soccer program is made possible by donations from several police officers. The Police Athletic League soccer program consists of 4 teams and two groups (8 teams in total). Unlike pretty much every soccer team in South Florida, the soccer program in Sweetwater is free and open to all kids wanting to participate. There are approximately 60 kids in the program. Although tryouts were held in January 2015, any child wanting to participate can join at any time.

Games take place on Saturdays at Ronselli Park.

Plans to join the South Florida Youth Soccer Association

According to a volunteer in the group named Carlos Jaramillo, the program is under development “in-house” and not in an official ‘traveling” club status. There are certain requirements which must be met for the team to have an official traveling club status, some of which include a minimum number of players, certification for coaches, and licensing within an official youth soccer league. “We want to bring opportunities to youth and help promote healthy habits. Their idea is not to turn away any young person. We are competing within our own group of kids and preparing them to reach the level of other top clubs in South Florida.”

Copa ESPN

The organizers of the Youth Soccer program are interested in entering the kids in a special event in FIU Stadium taking place in April called “Copa ESPN”. There is a fee which every competing team must pay to enter and organizers of the Sweetwater Youth Soccer program are trying to raise the funds necessary to compete in the event.

For more information, contact Sweetwater Police Capt. Rolando Perez, [email protected]

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