On the De Anza High varsity soccer team, players from low-income families have found a refuge from a difficult life and also hope for a better future.
That’s largely been credited to the team’s head coach, James Quijano, who was featured by KTVU (Ch. 2) this week for his selfless efforts in guiding and providing opportunity for the players on his team, all of whom come from low income families. Several players have even been homeless, but Quijano teaches both soccer and also life skills such as discipline and dedication in the hopes of guiding them on a path toward better futures.
The coach even digs into his own pocket to help pay for their soccer expenses, KTVU said.
“A lot of these kids, they have nothing …at least give them this little outlet,” Quijano told KTVU.
The result of this coach’s dedication has been inspiring. The soccer team has an average GPA of 3.2, the news station reported. And one senior, 17-year-old Luis Gomez — who has dealt with homelessness after his father lost his job and also the death of his mother — is receiving a full soccer scholarship to Cal State East Bay and has a 4.0 GPA.
“Whether I help them, somebody donated money or they’re able to save up their meager savings to get something off of that, they have that chance. They can compete with everybody else. They’re no different than anybody else,” Quijano told KTVU.