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Hundreds of students build skills through diverse soccer program

This fall, nearly 800 San Juan Unified students, from eight Title I schools ranging from grades 1 through 8, geared up for a 12-week soccer program. 

The goal of the “San Juan Soccer Club” is to build teamwork, inclusivity and unite the district’s refugee community with our diverse student population through the universal language of soccer. 

“Putting the program together was important to the San Juan staff and community because we want to see our diverse community interact in positive ways,” said Gwyn Dellinger, director of Student Learning Assistance. “Soccer provides a way to bypass language barriers for a common interest while being fun!”

Utilizing Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funds, the Office of Student Learning Assistance, alongside the Newcomer Support Team, provided newcomer refugee students coaching, tutoring and language skill practice. 

“It helps students build their self-esteem and come out of their limited comfort zone to a broader zone,” said Abdul Sami Safay, school community resource assistant. “Students also get to experience the meaning of being a student-athlete. That will allow them to look forward to participating in different sports after the soccer program ends.”

The program also provided students with free uniforms, shin guards, cleats, and a soccer ball which can all be taken home to be used for practice or future school programs. Watch this video to learn how the students enjoyed the program.