ARLINGTON, Va. - The FIFA World Cup is all about bringing people together from all over the world through the beautiful game. Young kids and teens are also taking notes from some of their favorite players in the hopes of one day being able to play on a world stage just like them.
The PUSH Academy in Arlington, Virginia is working to help children achieve that goal. Coach Papa is training young talent and he says if at least one of his students make it – he'll feel like his dream was fulfilled too.
"PUSH stands for Papida United Soccer Heroes. Papa which is my name because I decided to put this academy together. I wanted to be professional soccer myself because I couldn't make it through knee injuries, I wanted to share my knowledge of the game and inspire children," said Coach Papa.
Thirteen-year-old Cate Moran said, "He's always believed in me even when it gets hard so he's a great coach," said Moran. She had never played soccer before learning from Coach Papa. 10-year-old James Canny said he is learning so much from Coach Papa.
"If you don't play with heart, you're not going to win," said Canny.
He said by watching the FIFA World Cup, he is realizing passion is what can take you far and make you stand out.
To keep the PUSH Academy running, Coach Papa is looking for help.
"I would use the grant to improve outreach to soccer communities in the US for education about PUSH and increase donations. I could get professional advice on fundraising for non-profits instead of just word of mouth and social media," said Coach Papa.