GOALS is thrilled to officially introduce its newest youth soccer team, a teenage boys’ club from an area in Léogane called Carrefour Croix. This team, which has 25 players, is run by a head coach, Romel, and two assistant coaches, Sony and Busly.
The Carrefour Croix team marks a milestone for GOALS. It is our second site, and the first time that we have expanded our programs to include more children and their families. Every afternoon, kids from all over the area come to play soccer and develop new skills. The official team consists of boys aged 15-18 years old, and has been generously sponsored by John and Cathy Sommers.
The new team was originally started by Wilio, a young man who made the daily commute from Carrefour Croix to our Destra base for months. He applied to create a new team, organized the players, and invited GOALS to begin work in the area. Wilio continues to shine as a team leader, and demonstrates some of the best qualities GOALS hopes to develop in its participants.
The greatest part about the new Carrefour Croix team is that our impact in the area has quickly surpassed the 25 players on the official roster. First, the three coaches independently organized an additional informal team on their own, which includes girls and boys who are 8-15 years old. This younger team practices daily before the Carrefour Croix team starts their training. The kids run all over the grassy field, grinning from ear to ear as they chase the ball. Though there’s the usual laughter and traffic jams typical of kids’ teams, the players are also demonstrating an impressive level of skill, organization, and discipline at an early age. Watching them scrimmage one afternoon, Romel remarked, “Now that they’re playing, they’ll never feel like leaving.”
It’s exciting progress that GOALS has garnered enough support in recent months to expand its programs in the Léogane area. The Carrefour Croix community includes 151 new households and 513 people who join the GOALS family. The needs of this community are high. Average school enrollment hovers around 50% for children, 66% of households have no access to sanitation facilities, and 40% of households have no income due to unemployment.
GOALS is working to develop new skills in Carrefour Croix to plan public service projects and programs. To date, GOALS has provided a drinking water and hand-washing station, run a community deworming clinic, and begun community clean ups. The Carrefour Croix players are motivated and focused about improving their community’s quality of life and creating new opportunities for their futures.
The Carrefour Croix team has made a promising debut, and the players’ enthusiasm both on and off the field is exciting to see. The kids and their families have welcomed GOALS warmly, and their support and enthusiasm has kicked off our work in this new area to a great start. In Carrefour Croix, the soccer balls never seem to stop moving, and everyone at GOALS is looking forward to the team’s progress over the next year.