Getting to know Ariel: SFC’s Operations Manager

by Marcus Bernard

  • Posted on September 1, 2015

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Soccer For Change is constantly meeting new people and expanding our team base. When SFC was planning our trip to Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic, we had an ally there; Ariel Burgos. Marcus had met Ariel a few years ago when he was volunteering in Monte Cristi. Ariel and Marcus kept in contact with one another, and when Marcus decided to start Soccer For Change, Ariel was right on board.

This month, we were happy to announce that Ariel is Soccer For Change’s Operations Manager. He is based out of Monte Cristi and continues to run Soccer For Change based soccer camps. We are so happy to have him on our Soccer For Change team.

I felt that with all of this happening, it would be nice to hear from Ariel; what his story is and what his relationship was with Soccer For Change before he became our Operations Manager.

Using Facebook, Ariel and I were able to do a little interview, which I have transcribed below. I hope you enjoy getting to know Ariel more as much as I did!

When did you first hear about Soccer For Change?

Ariel: I heard about SFC last year. I met Marcus 4 years ago and last year he told me about the program and asked me for help.

Can you explain your experience with Soccer For Change when they came down to the Dominican in July?

A: My experience with SFC when they came was amazing!! It was my first soccer camp and my first time as a soccer player. I didn’t know that I was so good!! I learned a lot about it!! It was fun, great, and awesome!! The best of the best!

I am so happy to hear that! What type of impact do you think the soccer camp had?

A: The impact of SFC in Montecristi, I can’t describe it. The kids were so motivated and happy about it. They told their friends about SFC at the school, and when SFC left more kids were coming to my house to ask me when they were coming again. Principals for others school contacted me to ask me about SFC.

Obviously there is a desire for soccer in the Dominican and what the sport can teach people. That is incredible. I wish we could be there every day with you and all of the kids! Now, this interview is about you, so what is your position with Soccer For Change and what do you do?

A: In the beginning, I was just a Volunteer. Someone who wanted to help my community! I’m a teacher and also a Principal, so Marcus asked if I would like to be
part of SFC. So I told my school about the organization and some of my students did a short video, Donate Today and Welcome to the Team, that was how everything
stared here. So then, in August, Marcus asked me to be a Operations Manager for SFC and I said yes!! What I do is go to the different schools in my community and tell them about SFC, about what we did, and what we are doing and what we want to do in the future. Also, I’m a soccer trainer. I have 60 kids motivated to play soccer!!

Well, we are all so happy to have you on board! There is no one better suited to be our Operations Manager! The way the kids have reacted to you and the camp is more than we could have ever hoped! So, what do you think is in the future for Soccer For Change and how do you think it will affect local Monte Cristi citizens?

A: SFC is doing a wonderful job here in Montecristi! We are changing lives through soccer. The kids are motivated, the schools want to be part of this program. In the future, I see Soccer For Change making a positive impact in the lives of hundreds of children.  The skills they learned through the SFC program was simply amazing and will have great benefit for their futures. We also want to bring the program to the entire country.

I love that goal! That is exactly what Soccer For Change is about. Changing and helping children through sport. Monte Cristi was the perfect place to start, and we cannot wait to expand. To end off our interview, how has Soccer For Change changed your life?

A: How has SFC changed my life?!? Wow!! What can I say?!?! I love to help my community, I love kids! And SFC is giving me the opportunity to do what I love!! I’m a Soccer player now, and also a Soccer Trainer!!! So I just want to say: “Thank you SFC” and “Thank you Marcus” from the bottom of my heart!!

Ariel, from all of the Soccer For Change team, we just want to say thank you! Without you, we would not be doing everything we are now, and would not have such a great ally in Dominican to lead our camps and teach children what SFC is about. We are all so happy to have you on the team.

I realize this post might be a little lengthy, but I really wanted everyone to hear from Ariel and see that when you join Soccer For Change, you become not only a part of our team, but a part of our family. We work together, communicate, lead, and strive constantly to bring soccer and SFC to more parts of the world. If you are interested in joining our team and family, please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and/or Instagram, or comment below! We are always welcoming new members, and would love to hear how sport has changed your life, or how you want to help change others’ lives!