Street Boyz Win Again!

January 29, 2014

StreetBoyzThey are athletes. They are undefeated. They have raw talent, they have skills, and they have a heart for the game. They have a background story that makes it hard not to root for them. Here’s the kicker: they are a bunch of 11 to 14 year old boys.

They are the Street Boyz, to be exact: a group of spunky, local, soccer-loving boys. Their simple dream was to form a team and play at the nZone. And many of you, who are reading this right now, helped to make their dream come true.

It all began when Leo Zeferino of Chantilly approached the nZone about putting together a soccer team. He knew several boys, ages 14 and under, who would jump at the chance to join a soccer league at the nZone. One of these boys is his son, Brian, 12, who frequented the Friday night youth hangout at the nZone with his friends. They adored the place, began building relationships, and really felt at home on the fields.

The main hindrance to the boys was a financial one. To cover the cost, they were certain they would need sponsorship. The nZone management and Passion for Community (P4C) stepped in, and as a result, the “Boyz” would pay a nominal fee. This would help cover the portion owed to Soccer Academy (which organizes the soccer leagues at the nZone). The nZone would absorb the rest. The nZone also sought sponsors to cover the cost of uniforms; everyone they approached, however, had already filled their sponsorship quotas. This cost was instead covered by P4C.

So we’re helping some spunky 11-14 year old boys play soccer. Big deal.

Actually, it’s a huge deal. On any given Saturday night, Brad Halsey, 14, might be “just sitting around, eating, watching TV.” No longer are he and his friends just looking for something – anything – to do on a weekend. “I’d much rather be doing this,” insisted Brad. Now, they have the opportunity to play their favorite sport during winter – in a place dedicated to loving them as God loves. “Indoor soccer is way different from outdoor soccer. It’s so cool and fun,” said Chris Linares, 14.

Some New Lifers spent a few dollars to make signs saying “GO STREET BOYZ” and “STREET BOYZ ROCK!” They even chose to spend their Saturday night holding up those signs at a soccer game. They cheered for the Street Boyz as if they were their own kids. I cannot begin to estimate just how much it means to these boys and to their families. And it matters. I know because I witnessed it first hand after their 5-1 win on January 25, which ranked them at #1 in their league. I saw it in 11 year old Eric Velasquez as he offered an enthusiastic high-five to his teammate. I saw it in the faces of the boys’ families, who were thankful to spend a bitterly cold winter evening watching their children play soccer indoors. I heard it in Coach Leo’s voice when he said, “I am so proud of them. They have fun, and that is the most important thing… We are so thankful for this place and the chance to play here. Go Street Boyz, and go nZone!”

Maybe you can open up your Saturday night to cheer on a few kids you don’t even know. I promise you, it matters. People have sacrificed a great deal to support the work God is doing here, to love kids like these, to reach out to them and their families, and to build relationships. This is not just about offering some kids a warm place to play soccer. It is much bigger; it is the essence of the nZone. It is about helping people to experience the love of God.

“Whatever you did for the least of these, you did for Me.”

(Matthew 25:40)

– Emily Andrews

Editor’s Note: If you’d like to support the Street Boyz their next game is Saturday, Feb 1st, at 8pm.

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