Champions of Change
Hector Avila is the Program Coordinator for the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) Soccer for Success program, an inner city soccer program that focuses on life skills development through sports. Funded by a grant from the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the program offers over 1,000 low-income youth the opportunity to learn soccer and much more. Hector Avila knows the long term benefits this type of programming offers as he, too, benefited from a free soccer program that changed his life and career path. At 16, a free HPARD program offered him the opportunity to learn soccer. When he was 18, the same HPARD soccer program offered him a job and a way to give back to his community. Today, Mr. Avila holds licenses from both the United States Soccer Federation and the South Texas Youth Soccer Association. For 14 years he has dedicated his life to working with inner city youth to teach them soccer, team work, life skills development and healthy and active lifestyles. HPARD’s Soccer for Success program is a model for the benefits that sports can bring to the lives of young people. Hector Avila is an example of the way free athletic and academic programs can turn young lives in directions that benefit them and society as a whole.