Seattle United’s Carlos Enriquez Changing Lives…One School At A Time

Seattle United’s Carlos Enriquez Changing Lives…One School At A Time

Soccer In Schools Program a Smashing Success

Carlos Enriquez has served as the Community Outreach Director at Seattle United for the past 2 years.  As part of Carlos’ role, he manages the Soccer In Schools program, which is a community partnership between Seattle United, SYSA and Seattle Public Schools.  This is an educational/instructional program, which has been designed to support the schools and district curriculum by means of the beautiful game!  This fun and exciting program visits a school, for a week at a time, in order to work with all 3rd through 5th grade PE classes.

During the week, the program covers basic soccer skills (dribbling, passing, shooting) in a fun and supportive environment, while also helping the PE instructors in delivering district wide curriculum to the students (5 components of fitness, nutrition, goal setting, etc).  Soccer In Schools currently serves over 2,500 students each year while visiting 12-15 schools a year!  In the process, we have built great relationships with the Seattle Public Schools leadership, the hardworking PE instructors and the wonderful students of the schools we work with!  We are very committed to have the program grow so we may continue to support the SPS district, the PE instructors, and to facilitate playing opportunities to the students!

In explaining what he does, Carlos says, “I really enjoy meeting and serving members of other communities and working as a “bridge” to our own SU community. Being able to represent the club in these interactions – whether it is in the classroom with our program, at community meetings/events, or on the field – is an absolute honor!  Also, letting other folks know about the great work we do and the existing opportunities within our club is very rewarding.  I hope to keep building more positive relationships, especially with underrepresented communities within our city, in order to allow our club to better reflect the diversity of our beautiful city.  In other words, to have the opportunities, life lessons, and memories that the beautiful game offers available to more kids in Seattle!”

There are a lot of positive parts to the program, but building lasting relationships with the kids AND the PE instructors is the most rewarding part of the job to Carlos.  “The feeling of coming back to work with a friendly face that is absolutely professional and excited to teach is very inspiring as a coach (it is incredible to see the amount work that these PE instructors put in and how well they know their students).  But, seeing the enthusiasm and joy of the kids is by far the best part – there is nothing like seeing the game brighten up a young life!”

Seattle United Director of Soccer Jimmy McAlister says, “Carlos is a real community asset.  He has brought our great game of soccer to many children who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity.  Under Carlos’ leadership this fantastic program continues to grow.”

When asked about his favorite program experiences, Carlos replied, “Last year Seattle Sounders midfielder, Aaron Kovar (I had the pleasure of coaching him in Middle School), joined me for a session at Beacon Hill Elementary.  The kids at this school absolutely LOVE soccer, so they were thrilled to have him in the classroom with them!  It was great to share with them the success story of a local soccer player and letting them know that it is something that they can achieve too.  That was a BIG highlight of the year.  To empower a new generation of kids through the story of a young player I have seen grow over the years (in our very own SYSA system!) was an experience I will always cherish and never forget!”

Also last year, I had a classroom session that was composed of all ESL (English as a Second Language) students.  I was a little nervous at first despite my fluency in English and Spanish, due to the fact that there were about 3-4 other languages represented in the class that I did not know.  Once we got moving, I was reminded of why the game is the most popular sport in the world!  The session ended up being one of the most fun and rewarding classes I have ran thus far.  With body movements and laughter we connected and had a great time playing.  Each kid picked a pro player and that was their name for the day……….I got to work with Neymar, Messi, Ronaldo, Pepe and many more that day!”

Finally, Carlos says, “I think kids realize how fun soccer can be and grow an appreciation for the skills involved and a lot of the time are wanting to continue to play it.  Through the game we are fostering an environment that promotes effort, sportsmanship, respect, and fun!  It’s always fun to see kids that have only played other sports (football, basketball, etc.) smile and celebrate after scoring a goal!”

Carlos certainly embodies the spirit that Seattle United is proud to promote.  We are proud of Carlos and proud of all the children that he gets to work with.

Thanks, Carlos!