FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Mexican professional soccer team, Chivas, Guadalajara, held a training camp with Hispanic youth Friday at Foster Park West as part of the Shindigz National Soccer Festival.
In addition to being greeted by kids smiling ear to ear for the opportunity to take the pitch with the New York Yankees of the Mexican soccer world, parents took the day off from work to greet a team many of them have known their entire lives. The team, traveling to various soccer fields in Fort Wayne to help children and teens improve on their ball handling skills, stepped out of their vans to a warm welcome from parents cheering their name.
Miguel Eddie Navarro, who heads up a number of youth programs for the Spanish speaking community, says Friday’s participants were being given both a lesson on the field and a lesson in life.
"We needed this. It's an inspiration for our kids, especially for our community. You know, that's why we're doing this because we want to make sure that these kids become part of this state."
Chivas is hugely popular in Mexico. In addition to the current roster, Chava Reyes, who some might consider the Babe Ruth of Mexican soccer, was also in attendance. Navarro says a century’s worth of history was on display for the players and their families Friday.
"This is the team that represents Mexico. Over 30 million fans all over the world, so it's great for our community like this, having a team like this."
Navarro says part of what made the members of the current Chivas team so successful was the support they received as children from their parents. Navarro hopes the kids look to the players as role models. He says the moms and dads can also benefit.
"They needed a mom and dad. They needed all the support to be where they are, you know, and this is a model here because we want to make sure these kids follow all the advice that these guys are going to give them and hopefully we'll end up having some pros here too."
Chivas squares off against Indiana University Saturday night at 7:00 at the Hefner Soccer Complex. The game is being nationally televised by the Fox Soccer Channel.
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