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Friday, December 26, 2014

For alumnus Sebastian, road to soccer success and college began with DC SCORES

Sebastian (right) is a freshman studying engineering at West Virginia University. 
Meet Sebastian, a freshman at West Virginia University in Morgantown, W. Va. Sebastian is studying engineering and hopes to play soccer for the varsity or club team at the Division I university.

"I'm feeling ready to experience a new life," Sebastian said this fall. "I feel strong and positive. I'm really excited. Im sure this is going to be something super new and excellent with a million and one new opportunities to enjoy."

The opportunities afforded by the college experience seemed thousands of miles away from the immigrant from Colombia when he arrived at Oyster-Adams Bilingual School as an eighth-grader. He didn't know English and had few friends.

But Sebastian knew how to play soccer, and Oyster-Adams had a DC SCORES team. In a matter of months, Sebastian not only became a star on the team, but also a leader with many new friends. From listening to his coaches' instructions, his English improved greatly, too, and his confidence soared.

It didn't take long for coaches at higher levels to notice Sebastian's talent. Not only did he continue playing soccer at Wilson High School, but he was recruited to play for a DC Stoddert club team. Soon after showcasing his ability there, he was picked up by Arlington FC, one of the area's premier club teams.

"DC SCORES is a huge part of me," Sebastian said. "That's how I started from the bottom. I started playing for DC SCORES, another coach saw me playing and he recruited me."


Sebastian as an SYEP counselor. 
It didn't take long for Sebastian to realize the impact DC SCORES had on his development — even if it was for just one year — both on and off the soccer field.

That's why as a busy, soccer-playing high school student, he made the choice to return to Oyster-Adams as an assistant coach for two years. Sebastian also mentored younger kids as a DC Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) counselor at DC SCORES' Soccer & Arts camp.

"DC SCORES shaped me as a soccer player to succeed and get the best," Sebastian said. "As a person, I learned to appreciate things in life and that money is not everything — understanding new people and kids."

Sebastian hopes to get on the team at West Virginia — one of four schools that recruited him — this spring, but his top priority is school. He ended up choosing WVU because of its petroleum program.

But in his spare time — of which there is little — Sebastian gives back. In fact, this past summer when he was in his native Colombia, he spent hours upon hours trying "to implement a soccer program for low income neighborhoods."


Please consider giving the gift of a team to child like Sebastian before the end of the year. Thank you for your support!

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