SAN ANTONIO (June 25, 2012) -- The Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) soccer program hosted the Jefferson United Youth Soccer Academy (JUYSA) last week. This is the third season for the academy and the first held in partnership with OLLU.
The organization was started in the spring of 2010 by Thomas Jefferson High School alumni Randy Sanchez and Ed Garza, former Mayor of San Antonio. The mission of the organization is to provide an affordable, urban neighborhood and school-based soccer and leadership development program for children, ages 5-12, who primarily come from elementary and middle schools that feed into Jefferson; however this past year, the organization expanded to include those from the Lanier and Edison High School areas, as well as youngsters from all over San Antonio. JUYSA has grown from 92 players on eight teams in two age divisions to 450 kids on 31 teams and three age divisions. The organization expects to register over 600 children by 2013.
|OLLU Soccer Coach Shane Hurley and Ed Garza offer leadership training to soccer youth during camp.|
Twenty-four youngsters were invited to participate in the OLLU-JUYSA Camp through scholarship. The camp was managed by OLLU Head Soccer Coach Shane Hurley, assistant coaches Arthur Salazar and Lee Williams, as well as members of the OLLU men's and women's soccer teams.
"The first OLLU-JUYSA summer camp was a huge success," said Garza. "JUYSA players participated in the four-day soccer camp and then attended an afternoon leadership camp in the OLLU activity center."
OLLU utilizes the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Champions of Character's Five Core Values of Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Sportsmanship and Servant Leadership as part of their instruction during the season and as part of the camp's leadership development. In addition, all JUYSA teams complete at least one community service project during the season. These projects have ranged from nursing home visits with homemade cookies and arts and crafts, to tree-plantings at park cleanups, to thank you cards to military men and women.
|Coach Shane Hurley offers tips to youngsters during soccer camp.|
Referees for JUYSA are high school soccer athletes from Jefferson High School. JUYSA also provides registration fee scholarships for any player eligible for free or reduced lunch; however the highest fee a player not eligible pays is $45 for the entire season. JUYSA has also granted three $1,000 scholarships to Jefferson High School graduating seniors since 2010.
JUYSA raises money for its scholarships through two fundraisers during the season (candy sale and barbecue plate sale), as well as through sponsorships (H-E-B, Waste Management, Spurs Sports Entertainment, Scorpions F.C., Councilman Cris Medina, Councilman Diego Bernal, SACU and many others). JUYSA also entered into a partnership with Haven for Hope (H4H) during the spring 2012 season. Over 40 H4H children played on JUYSA teams.
|Ed Garza, Shane Hurley and|
Hurley looks forward to continuing to find innovative ways to positively impact the youth of San Antonio and welcome organizations such as JUYSA. "We were glad that Mr. Garza reached out to us to partner with this camp," Hurley said. "It was fantastic. We had more than 60 campers total, encompassing not only children from Jefferson United, but also from the local YMCA and the Alamo City Youth Soccer Organization."