Local soccer club unifies a community

Elizabeth Orosco
Northeast News

Nearly two decades ago, one soccer ball helped unite an entire community.

Victor Daniel Muñiz is currently one of four coaches for Estrella De Oro Academy (Golden Star in Spanish), a soccer club that brings together kids from Northeast Kansas City.

He said his goal is not only to teach the skills of the sport, but to turn the students into great leaders.

Juan Muniz, Victor’s father, originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco, started the club in 2002 near Lykins Square Park.

Victor said back then, the neighborhood was divided between many different nationalities, including Italians, Mexicans, and Vietnamese.

“No one talked to each other,” Victor said. “I think it was the language barrier and everyone just having different cultures.”

Victor’s father, Juan, changed that with one soccer ball.

“It was a $2 soccer ball from Walmart. He brought it out and started playing with us, and eventually people from the neighborhood noticed, and came to join us,” said Victor.

The group continued to grow and eventually totaled roughly 350 people. They began playing matches at Bellvediere Park, which is currently in the process of being sold since the closure of Chouteau Courts.

Today, the group focuses on coaching children from ages 4 to 12.

Victor works with them to teach the basic skills of the game, but he said he also makes sure to have conversations about advancing their education and becoming a better person.

“Everyone wants to become the next Cristiano Ronaldo or Leo Messi,” he said, “but I always remind them that they can also go to school. There’s UMKC, Rockhurst, Penn Valley, and a lot more.”

Victor said the biggest change he has seen as a coach isn’t with the kids, but the parents.

“The parents show up and are really focused on winning. I always tell them that we win no matter what. Soccer is a game.”

He said he also makes sure to discuss the option of college with the parents, the majority of whom are not from the United States.

“It’s hard to see the parents sort of shortchange their kids when they don’t realize that college is an option. There are grants and scholarships available to help them, and I want to make sure they know that.”

Last year, Victor paid for a group of EDO girls to attend the U.S Women’s National Team in the 2018 Tournament of Nations.

“I asked them one day if they knew there was a women’s soccer team and all the girls said no. I pulled from my savings account and did whatever I had to do to take them. It was their first time at a stadium and first time seeing a professional women’s team.”

Estrella De Oro meets every Monday and Wednesday at the Garrison Community Center in the Columbus Park neighborhood.

The fee is $35 per month, but Victor said most of the kids can’t afford that, so he helps  them fundraise or even pays money out of his own pocket to assist them.

Overall, he said he wants parents and other organizers to remember that soccer is a game, and there is much more to take away from the sport than winning.

“Soccer does unite people. It’s magic with a soccer ball. As an organizer, it’s not all about the money. At the end of the day, you can be the difference for kids who don’t have a good parental figure in their life.”

To learn more about EDO, visit their Facebook page at Estrella De Oro Academy.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Kansas City community, leaders commemorate 60 year anniversary of life lost in deadly fire

    August 21st, 2019

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News Community members, firefighters, and city leaders met Friday, August 16 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of […]

    Healing House baptizes over 70

    August 21st, 2019

    Bryan Stalder Northeast News On Saturday, August 17, Healing House hosted their annual baptism on the 4400 block of St. […]

    Grace Church of the Nazarene burglarized, vandalized

    August 21st, 2019

    Bryan Stalder Northeast News After worship services concluded at the Grace Church of the Nazarene at 4300 Independence Avenue on […]

    KCPD meets with Congolese community in effort to build bridges

    August 21st, 2019

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News Kansas City Police officers met with members of the Congolese community this week to work to […]

    Law enforcement activity at Chouteau Courts

    August 16th, 2019

    Law enforcement activity at Chouteau Courts.

  • Frontier High School students placed sixth in Solar Car Challenge

    August 14th, 2019

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News Frontier STEM High School students took home sixth place in the Classic Division at this year’s […]

    Kansas City all-girl charter school opens its doors in Northeast August 19

    August 14th, 2019

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News In less than a week, the Kansas City Girl’s Preparatory Academy will be welcoming its first […]

    Northeast community, KCPD rallies around 9-year-old struck by car

    August 14th, 2019

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News Emmanuel Jombu, a 9-year-old boy, is back home and recovering after being struck by a car […]

    National Night Out in Budd Park

    August 14th, 2019

    National Night Out takes place the first Tuesday of August every year. Communities all over the country bring neighbors and […]

    Frontier Schools takes 6th Place in 2019 Solar Car Challenge!

    August 14th, 2019

    Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!Enter your email address and click on the […]

  • Faces Of Northeast

  • Postcard

    Are we there yet?

    August 21st, 2019

  • Remember This?

    REMEMBER THIS? Coca-cola

    August 21st, 2019

  • retorts illustrated by bryan stalder

  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.