Local soccer team headed to Show-Me State Games in July


Soccer Stars. Above, the boys' El Padrino soccer team pauses for a pic. The team will head to the Show-Me State games in July at Columbia, Mo. Submitted Photo

Northeast News
June 13, 2012

Coach Ann Murphy said she hasn’t told her middle school soccer team they’re going to the Show-Me State Games in Columbia, Mo., yet. It’s in July, and the coaches finished fundraising in May.

“We take it one game at a time,” said Murphy, who works in Historic Northeast as a Kansas City Police Department officer.

While the El Padrino Fútbol Club might take it one game at a time, stepping back tells a much larger story.

To provide a positive outlet for youth in Northeast, Murphy and her best friend, Kansas City Public Schools’ teacher Mallory Simmons, formed the El Padrino Fútbol Club team for youth ages 10 to 14.

“Youth today are exposed to violence and harsh conditions everyday. However, youth are also our future and when encouraged to succeed, they will shine,” she said. 

Murphy watched a dozen middle school boys and one girl kick a muddy soccer ball around Polo Fields. Their sunny yellow jerseys almost had you believe it’s not raining. Every so often, the goalie missed the ball and it flew through the ripped net.

The youth live in Northeast and are nearly all immigrants from Mexico, the Dominican Republic and other Latin countries. One boy recalled playing fútbol on the streets in his hometown, but this is the first time any of them have played on a team.

The middle schoolers used to be trouble makers. They got bad grades and got in hot water with the law. It’s a story police officers like Murphy have heard a thousand times. But this time, she had a different ending in mind. She and Simmons decided to make the youth a deal.

“We told them if they could keep their grades up and stay out of trouble, they could be on our brand new soccer team,” Murphy said.

The players have to keep a 2.5 GPA, stay involved in the college prep program at school, utilize tutoring services, and stay out of trouble at school, home and with the law.

Murphy pointed at one player covered in mud.

“See him?” she said. “He got in trouble at school yesterday, so we made him run laps. He did it willingly, too, because he wants to stay on the team.”

The boys exercise as punishment for acting up. It’s not too bad though, Murphy said. The boy she pointed to had gotten into trouble for flicking a rubber band – a much more measly crime than busting out windows like other troubled youth.

It’s the kids’ enthusiasm for playing that keeps Murphy and the three other coaches dedicated, she said. She and Simmons have both taken second jobs to pay for the team’s expenses.

“Most teams make you pay a thousand bucks to play,” said Murphy. “These kids don’t have that. They have nowhere else they can go to play.”

They cut costs wherever they can. The uniforms are donated by El Padrino, and the kids practice at the park instead of on a real field.

“All the coaches donate our time,” said Murphy. “But you still have expenses.”

The youth get two uniforms, a warm-up suit, a bag, player’s insurance and entry into six leagues and one tournament so they can play year-round. Murphy said the fee is as low as they can make it.

“Kids bring me nickels and dimes to pay for it,” said Murphy. “I don’t mind, but I know it’s hard.”

Sometimes businesses sponsor the team. Murphy said she’s thankful El Padrino sponsors the uniforms.

“I play in the El Padrino women’s league,” Murphy said. “And I went to Raul with this spreadsheet of expenses, and I told him about the kids. I told him he wouldn’t make any money, and he said that was okay.”

Murphy said she needs sponsors year-round.

“We didn’t even have any balls when we started playing,” Murphy said. “And sometimes people try to steal them at the park. We always need more.”

They’re also starting a letter writing campaign to Adidas to ask for a discount on shoes. Murphy said she’s hoping to find scholarships for some of the youth who can’t afford the fee. She and Simmons decided they will personally sponsor two youth next year.

She said she hopes people will continue to be touched by how far the students have come.

“It’s like night and day,” Murphy said.

She hopes they get into college on soccer scholarships, like she did at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo.

“They don’t always win,” she said. “But they’re little. The oldest one is 13. And they’re playing against high school students a lot of the time, double their size.”

The other team’s players sometimes have mustaches, said Murphy, but her team is composed of children. It makes the boys feel insecure sometimes, she said.

“I just tell them, ‘Wait ’til you hit puberty,'” she said. “They still have time.”

Murphy also tells them to know their strengths.

“I tell them not to be worried about being slower than the other kids,” Murphy said. “I mean, even David Beckham is slow. But, he has amazing accuracy. So, even if they have a weakness, they have a strength that can help them become a champion.”

She said she’s proud of them for playing at all, and for scoring at least once per game.

“I can’t wait to see how good they’ll be when they can play against kids their own age,” said Murphy.

Comments are closed.

  • Urban Youth Academy coming to Kansas City

    October 6th, 2015

    Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Missouri has teamed up with Major League Baseball [MLB] and the Kansas City Royals to create a safe atmosphere for young baseball fans in Kansas

    Kansas City Chiefs and community partners help Northeast High School score new football field

    September 9th, 2015

    Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Are you ready for some football on a new football field?
    On Tuesday, Sept.

    New exhibition steps up to the plate

    July 14th, 2015

    By Michaela Bishop Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Artists come in all shapes and sizes to use various tools to create art.

    Beer, BBQ and bicycles

    June 2nd, 2015

    Beers, bikes and barbecue. Last weekend, the Kansas City Microbrews and BBQ festival, along with the Tour of Kansas City Cliff Drive Classic Circuit Race and 5K run took over the

    Chiefs’ linebacker donates dens to help promote reading

    May 27th, 2015

    By Joe Jarosz Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Kansas City Chief’s linebacker Derrick Johnson knows the importance of children reading early and often.

  • Tour of Kansas City takes in the sights of the NE this weekend

    May 27th, 2015

    Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — If you’re traveling through the Northeast this weekend, watch out for cyclists.

    Bike-to-School Day

    May 12th, 2015

    Quite the hike. Dozens of Whittier Elementary students joined others across the country in biking and walking to school on Wednesday, May 6, to celebrate National Bike to School Day.

    The best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is coming to Kansas City’s Union Station

    March 4th, 2015

    Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The National Football League Hall of Fame is coming to Kansas City.

    KCPS students could win a party with a linebacker

    February 4th, 2015

    By Joe Jarosz Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — If students in Kansas City Public Schools read enough, they could party with Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson.

    GTECH’s After School Advantage Program adds $16,000 computer lab to the Police Athletic League of Kansas City

    January 14th, 2015

    By Joe Jarosz Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The Police Athletic League of Kansas City has gotten a little more high tech.

  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    El Paso Del Norte joins the Northeast Chamber

    Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — In an area with restaurant options, El Paso Del Norte stands out. This past March, El Paso Del Norte, 3430 Independence Ave., joined the Northeast

    Kansas City’s first fire fighters honored

    Northeast News In March 1867, the Missouri Legislature granted permission to allow Kansas City to organize an official fire department. In August of that same year an engine company was formed

    retorts illustrated bryan stalder

    retorts illustrated bryan stalder [...]