The Chicano Federation with the Football Academy for 1000 students opened SD Consolidated

The nonprofit Chicano Federation provides a soccer academy to provide free lessons to more than 1,000 San Diego Unified School District students in underserved communities.

The 10-week program at Chula Vista Elite Sports Training Center consists of leadership education and teamwork through soccer for children ages 5 to 12.

They are visited by players and coaches from the San Diego Wave Fútbol Club and San Diego Loyal, who are part of the alliance.

“Players come here frequently to talk to the kids,” said Liz Ramirez, CEO of Chicano Association. “They talk about the sport and help them with their style.”

Ramirez said the summer academy, which runs Monday through Friday, will end at the end of August.

It is funded by Top Level San Diego A program of the San Diego Unified School District in partnership with the San Diego Foundation. The school district and Chicano Association provide transportation to the training center.

“This is completely free for all of our students, so they don’t have to worry about funding this through their own budgets,” said Superintendent of Schools Lamont A. Jackson.

The first camp was set up with the Chicano Federation and the San Diego Loyal last year as part of the program.

“We are fully committed to doing this, not only for the past two years, but in the future as well,” Jackson said.

The Chicano Federation, a nonprofit organization, has launched a soccer academy to provide free lessons to more than 1,000 San Diego Unified Students who live in low-income communities.

On Wednesday at the training center, Landon Donovan and Jill Ellis, iconic figures in American football, visited the students.

“This sport has been a great gift in my life,” said Ellis, president of San Diego Wave.

“If I can somehow help, or in some way, get a young child to experience the joy of sports, all the teamwork and all that comes with it, then it is worth our time to participate in a program like this,” he said. Ellis, who as coach of the US women’s soccer team won the World Cup twice.

Donovan, director and executive vice president of football operations at San Diego Loyal, said the academy wants the little ones to have fun, but also learn more about football.

“Hopefully we’ll get the fans here, and we’ll probably make players one day, you never know, but in the end they can come here and smile and have fun.”

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