Santa Ana Schools Score Big With Free After-School Soccer Program

Santa Ana Schools Score Big With Free After-School Soccer Program
A man plays soccer at the Great Park in Irvine, Calif., on May 6, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Rudy Blalock

Eight Santa Ana schools will participate in a free after-school soccer program to teach students soccer fundamentals, teamwork, and youth leadership, according to a local soccer foundation.

The Orange County Soccer Club Community Foundation started the program, assisted by a donation from the DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation.

The 10-week program begins Aug. 29 and is for 4th- and 5th-grade co-ed students.

“Santa Ana is a community filled with soccer fans, and we know that these students will benefit greatly from exposure to the ‘Orange County Way’ of youth soccer training,” Lisa Keston, executive director of the soccer foundation, said in a statement.

While this new league will be its first, officials from the organization said they hope to expand to more schools and districts throughout Orange County.

Training will be age-appropriate soccer curriculum, with practices being held on Wednesdays and games on Fridays.

Aimee Watters, Executive Director of The DICK'S Sporting Goods Foundation said it is proud to provide a safe space for youth sports and is excited to help bring the program to the Santa Ana Unified School District.

School District Superintendent Jerry Almendarez said the district is “incredibly grateful” for the soccer foundation’s contribution.

“Exercise through organized sports offers our children another opportunity to learn teamwork, collaboration, discipline, and other important skills that can translate directly into their education,” he said.

Players and coaches from the county’s professional soccer team, known as the Orange County Soccer Club, will make guest appearances as the program kicks off.

Rudy Blalock is a Southern California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. Originally from Michigan, he moved to California in 2017, and the sunshine and ocean have kept him here since. In his free time, he may be found underwater scuba diving, on top of a mountain hiking or snowboarding—or at home meditating, which helps fuel his active lifestyle.