By Gloria Burns….
The John I. Smith K-8 Center Varsity Soccer Team reigns as the champions of Doral’s District in AYSO (American Youth Soccer Association) competition, a winning team (like many others) faced with financial adversity due to statewide budget cutbacks.
Now, the Rotary Club of Doral, learning of that challenge, has stepped in to sponsor Smith K-8 Center Falcons with a contribution to allow purchase of uniforms for the entire team, as well as offsetting additional operational expense.
Despite a shaky start last season, the team quickly merged into a cohesive U-10 coed soccer unit under Coach Gerardo Reyes, an AYSO volunteer coach and Rotarian.
Reyes, a product of AYSO teaching philosophies, began playing soccer at age 9 in New York City’s Flushing Meadows District, eventually becoming a wellloved coach by the children he leads. With a winning season (8-1-1), only one loss, Doral’s Falcons are ranked among favorites to compete for the District title again. Started in 1964, AYSO has maintained living tenets that include: Everyone Plays®, Balanced Teams, Open Registration, Positive Coaching, Good Sportsmanship and Player Development.
“We hope this initiative encourages other businesses and organizations to become Dade Public School Partners by sponsoring other teams in our schools,” said Reyes, proudly adding: “My players and I will wear the Rotary Wheel into every match with pride and honor and bring back an even bigger trophy this year!”