Despite Arlington being one of the 10 wealthiest counties in the nation, over a third of our school-age children qualify for the federal Free and Reduced-Price Meal Program. Cost barriers, lack of transportation, unstable homes and foster situations, or other factors prevent many of these kids from participating in the multitude of youth activities available in our community. Too many children don’t even have the opportunity to simply play outside in a safe area after school.
Arlington Soccer is bringing soccer directly to over 500 of these kids at their schools. Since 2012, ASA has partnered with the Real Madrid Foundation and Arlington Public Schools to deliver an after-school soccer and character-building program for at-risk children. Under the guidance of specially-trained coaches, these children participate each season at no cost to them.
Soccer is the hook to get kids excited to come; once they are involved, the program helps them develop the respect, self-discipline, teamwork and sense of self-worth that they need to succeed both on and off the field.
Carlin Springs Elementary
Gunston Middle School
Kenmore Middle School
Thomas Jefferson Middle School coming Fall 2017
We run the Real Madrid Social-Sport Academy after-school program at eight Arlington public schools where the proportion of students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch ranges from over 50% to nearly 90%. Each of the participating schools chooses the students that they believe would benefit from the attention, structure and e
encourangement this program provides – kids who are struggling with academics, behavior or a challenging home environment. For many of these kids, the program is their only opportunity to get outside and be active after school.
The after-school program closely follows the students’ in-school performance. Students have to be in good standing with their homework, in-class assignments and conduct in order to be able to participate each week. The discipline that the students receive from their teachers translates to consequences on the field, including yellow cards and sit-outs. Students learn that the best way to continue to play and have fun with their friends is to maintain their academics, attendance and behavior.
"My students love the after-school soccer program! They feel special because they get to participate in something extra special and fun (not academic after a long day of school). They really like how it is sponsored by Real Madrid and how real soccer coaches are working with them. They also understand it is a privilege that needs to be earned by great behavior and hard work. The program helps me motivate students to keep them working hard and trying their best. It is a great incentive!" - Arlington Public School Teacher
Luis Gendive has 30 years of coaching experience. His first 12 years were in Spain, including 6 years with EF Juventud Madrid, a Real Madrid sister school. He has been with ASA for over 16 years, where he directs Arlington Soccer’s Additional Programs and serves as head coach for boys’ travel teams. He is the former head coach of the Gallaudet University Men’s team and Thomas Jefferson High School Girls’ Varsity team.
Othmane Benkhallouk, 10 years of coaching experience
Papa Dia, 21 years of coaching experience
Darwin Vallejos, 10 years of coaching experience
Alex Vallejos, 10 years of coaching experience
John Ciampa, 4 years of coaching experience
Prem Singh, 4 years of coaching experience
Colleen Bozzi, 3 years of coaching experience
Karina Rivera, 3 years of coaching experience
At the end of each season we survey the students to assess the effectiveness of this program:
• 93% like the Real Madrid after-school program “a lot” and want to participate in the program again
• 90% say they make new friends through the program
• 82% say the program helps them want to come to school “a lot”
• 83% say the program helps them want to do well in school “a lot”
• 75% say they learn about being healthy, that “my coach shows interest in me and my life,” and “my coach helps me respect other people more”
We also asked teachers and administrators from the participating schools to comment on any changes in student behavior or academics witnessed since the inception of the Real Madrid program. A teacher at Carlin Springs Elementary School wrote,
"Soccer has been a huge motivator in my class. The [students] know that they have to have good behavior and turn in all of their homework and assignments to be eligible for soccer. Soccer reinforces that they are responsible for their materials, behavior, and schedule. Soccer gives students that extra motivation to really work for a goal that they are passionate about and it is instant reinforcement when they get to go each week and be rewarded by their participation."
Arlington Soccer currently runs the Real Madrid after-school program at Barcroft Elementary, Barrett Elementary, Carlin Springs Elementary, Gunston Middle School, Hoffman-Boston Elementary, Kenmore Middle School, Key Elementary, and Randolph Elementary and we are working secure additional funding to be able to expand to more schools across Arlington. Ultimately our goal is to have the program in at least 6 elementary schools, at least 2 middle schools and at least 1 high school. This expansion will give a larger number of students the opportunity to grow and play with their friends while learning important life skills.
Current donors and partners include
If you, your foundation or your company is interested in partnering with us to reach more at-risk children in Arlington, please contact us atGretchen Hamm, Director of Development at RM Web Referral or 703-527-0157.
Sponsor the Real Madrid after-school program to help underserved children in Arlington while gaining brand exposure and positive name-recognition for your company!
If you, your foundation or your company is interested in partnering with us to reach more at-risk children in Arlington, please contact us at email@example.com or 703-527-0157.