Skyline Soccer launches international outreach program
The Skyline Soccer International u13 team.
Neil Alvarado (left) with teen soccer players (from left to right) Gavin, Netra, Prakrash, Bhola, Anit, Buddy, and Sudir. Except for Buddy, who is from Burma, all the other players are from Nepal.
By Lisa Nicklanovich; photos courtesy of Neil Alvarado
Neil Alvarado’s El Salvadorian roots, upbringing in Los Angeles, and life-long love of soccer make him uniquely qualified to launch the international division of Skyline Soccer Association (SSA) to reach the underprivileged in Denver. “Growing up in south Los Angeles, I was called many names, but I assimilated and lived the American dream my parents hoped for. Many of these kids in inner-city Denver are in the same situation that I was. This opportunity gives me the chance to pay it forward by bringing kids together who have all the passion in the world for soccer, but not the means to play,” Alvarado said.
A generous donor, the Sprout Foundation is making the dream of an indoor facility a reality. Pending permit approvals, construction at W. Warren and S. Bryant will begin in October. Opening of the facility is tentatively scheduled for spring of 2014. “In the winter months, many kids don’t have a place to play. I’d love to see this facility used 24/7 and year round. I picture thousands of kids playing there who are not just rich in soccer ability, but rich in culture. I want it to be a model for what future clubs can do.”
Alvarado said, “I’m looking for the daughter of an El Salvadorian immigrant, the brothers of a Burmese refugee family, a Nepalese teen or any child with desire to play. If you asked these kids or looked in their heart, you’d realize soccer is the one consistent thing they’ve had through it all.”
SSA was established in 1965 and is the oldest soccer club in Denver. Roughly 2,500 players ranging in age from two-and-a-half to 18 years old participate at all levels of play. Alvarado said, “SSA is providing these families with a well-established club with permits to play in nineteen different parks in Denver and soon a full indoor soccer field.”
Alvarado, a Castle Pines resident for six years, is married and has two young boys. In addition to pulling more teams together (he has five already), Alvarado is looking for coaches and corporate sponsors to buy banners in the facility to help offset the operating costs. With this project in the beginning phase, Alvarado is open to creative ways to provide cleats, uniforms, and practice gear for players.
For more information, visit www.skylinesoccer.org (international tab) or contact Alvarado directly by e-mail.