My love for soccer and my dream of playing professional soccer started as a kid growing up in Africa (Liberia). I came to the United States to live with my Father in 2009 and started playing for a local soccer team, Willingboro Soccer Club in New Jersey. I was easily recognized and accepted by my teammates because of my history, abilities, and talents in the sport. A year later, I decided to try out for the New Jersey Ranger Soccer Club but there was a problem, I had neither the money nor support to pay for the tryout fee resulting in me losing that opportunity. My father didn’t believe in my dream and provided me with no financial or emotional support. Although my mother supported my dream with love and encouragement, she could not financially support me. As a single mother in Africa, she had to decide between providing for her family or supporting my dream of becoming a professional soccer player.
During my second year of playing with Willingboro Soccer Club, I got an invitation to travel to Turkey and China to try out for a Semi-professional team. But, the same challenge showed its “ugly face”. Given my part-time job making $10/hr. and not much saved up, I couldn’t afford the plane ticket nor the additional travel expenses. With the time-sensitive invitation deadline approaching, I asked other people for support but no one would help me with the travel expenses. The invitation expired and I lost the opportunity to play in Turkey and China. I didn’t get discouraged as I enrolled in a local New Jersey college and tried out for their soccer team. I was accepted and played there for a year. But after a year I got kicked out of my father’s house and had to move to Philadelphia, PA to live with my aunty. While in Philadelphia, I applied to attend another college and tried out for their soccer team. I was accepted to play for the College on a full scholarship. I had a successful first year and advanced to play in the regional finals. However, I had another misfortune during the early start of my second year – ending my dream of playing professional soccer. I got injured and I was unable to join my teammates in playing games that year. But as the saying goes, “You can’t keep a good man down”.
After my recovery, I decided to become a soccer coach because of my passion for the sport. So I contacted my college coach for his guidance and I followed his direction to become a licensed coach in the US. My former coach later recruited me as an assistant coach at the college. I worked unpaid for two years learning everything that I could possibly learn from him and the other coaching staff. This was a blessing from God as I got to work with one of the best college soccer coaches in the US. Looking back, it was then that the visionary seed was planted and my dream of, “One day being a blessing to kids who love soccer as much as I do” begun. My vision is to open doors for many unknown talents and kids who can’t afford the cost of participating in soccer or making their dreams come true. As difficult as it was working and coaching full time, I didn’t give up because I had a vision and a goal to fulfill in my life. I founded Columbus Astro Soccer Club to allow every player to experience the passion, skill, and lifetime opportunity of playing soccer. As a non-profit organization, representing 50+ children ages 6 – 16 in recreational, competitive, and academy type programs. We know that many of our families have less disposable income and are being often forced to choose between allowing their children to play the sport they love or provide for their families. Some of the challenges the parents faced were; affordability of player registration, improper training materials, parents requesting a lengthy season to help mentor their kids or an all year round soccer program and transportation issues such as transporting players from single-parent homes to and from soccer practice.
Columbus Astro SC wants to allow each player to participate in the great sport of soccer, regardless of ethnicity, disabilities, and income by significantly reducing and possibly eliminating any fees associated with participation. This can only be done with the generous support of philanthropic people like you. We struggle to raise the funds necessary to cover expenses associated with running the organization that teaches not only soccer skills but also teamwork, leadership, sportsmanship, and athleticism. Your donation will ensure each child participates in soccer and cover expenses such as soccer balls, soccer shin guards, goalkeeper gloves, soccer goals, medical tool kits (EMS), soccer net, soccer uniforms, soccer cleats, and training equipment. Your donation will go a long way to pave the way for more kids to enjoy soccer as their recreational sport. By making a tax-deductible donation to Columbus Astro, you become an important part of our community and help make a huge impact in the lives of our children.