A cold, rain soaked weekend and a muddy field with ever growing puddles could not interfere with the enthusiasm of twelve coaches and guest field players who were part of the first National "D" License in Spanish offered by Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer at the Capitola Playground in South Philadelphia this past weekend. ODP and Education staff coach Trajano Bastidas was the instructor. Giving up their weekend was a small sacrifice for these coaches in order to bring the game to the Spanish youth of South Philadelphia and Camden.
The highlight of the ground-breaking weekend was a guest appearance by Union mid-fielder Leo Fernandez on Sunday. Despite playing for a half on Saturday and a full game in a reserve match Sunday; Leo was gracious and enthusiastic in answering any question posed to him.
Leo has East coast soccer connections. He left Brazil at age ten and grew up in New York City. He played for the Gotschee Soccer Club in Queens and matriculated to Stony Brook University in Long Island where he was an All-American selection.
He provided some personal reflections on his youth playing experiences, high school soccer, and suggestions to the younger players who were present at the playground. He described his experience thus far with The Union and has very positive expectations for the upcoming season. Leo emphasized the value of an education and to work hard to attain your dreams. He appears to be the perfect spokesperson for the young players on the Union squad.