Yes, a 14-year-old can change the world, and this Friday, Upstate soccer fans will help her do just that.
Fourteen-year-old Sophia Coronado saw a problem in her community.
Having grown up in a Colombian family in Greenville, SC, she developed a love for soccer from a young age as her family and community gathered to watch matches. Once she began to play the game herself, she recognized that this game should be available to everyone.
So what does a 14-year-old who sees a problem in her community do? She starts an organization to combat the problem.
And thus, Equal Juego was born.
Equal Juego is “an organization that aims to bring the sport of soccer to kids who may not otherwise have access to it due to the financial hurdles of club soccer.” Sophia hopes to use this organization to bring the game to underserved communities by providing free clinics and gently used gear, and eventually even to build soccer fields and futsal courts to make the game accessible to all.
When I first heard Sophia’s story on the local news, I knew I needed to use the platform we have built here at Soccer ‘n’ Sweet Tea, use our social media outlets, and use podcasting through Yeah, THAT Soccer Show to help her out.
As I began to share about this amazing organization led by this amazing teenager, others heard and wanted to be a part of this as well. Enter Brock Elder of the Electric City American Outlaws chapter.
The group was already looking to help relaunch at the newly reopened Mellow Mushroom in Anderson, S.C., and Brock saw this organization as a great cause to support in conjunction with that event.
“The American Outlaws are all about supporting the national soccer teams,” Brock told me, “but for me and others in our chapter, it is really all about the community. It’s about community involvement, growing the game on the local level, and being involved with charities and non-profit organizations.”
Soccer is called the Beautiful Game, and that name conveys so much more than the beauty of watching the game played. To me, it points to the unifying nature of soccer fandom that is unlike fandom in most any other sport. So of course, once Brock and I began to work on this event, Greenville Triumph SC heard about it and also wanted to be involved.
This Friday, Sept. 7, at Mellow Mushroom in Anderson, S.C., we will have a wonderful night of soccer for a good cause. There will be a USMNT vs. Brazil watch party hosted by the American Outlaws, and there will be discounts on food, door prizes, and a 50/50 raffle to support Equal Juego.
If you cannot make it out on Friday, I would encourage you to consider heading over to GoFundMe to make a donation to help Equal Juego meet their initial $1,000 goal.
Good luck, Sophia! You’re an inspiration to all of us.