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Volunteers team up to build soccer fields in Yakima

NOTE: This article originally appeared in the Daily Sun on May 29, 2012. For more articles like this, visit

Photo courtesy of Yakima Daily Sun

Santa Maria Rivera, wearing work gloves and carrying a hammer, bends over a section of Sunnyside's new community soccer fields to dig potentially dangerous rocks out of the dirt.

Rivera loves soccer. He played on the Seattle Sounders 2007 championship team. It's his passion, and his goal here in Sunnyside is to present the community with a great place to gather for playing and watching his favorite game.

Rivera and employees of Golazo visited Sunnyside this past Tuesday to accomplish a little work on the fields. Richard Tait, co-founder of Golazo, said it was nice to get out from under the Seattle rain.

Tait and Rivera want to create a gathering place for the people of Sunnyside and to help children to follow their dreams.

"We want to instill confidence in kids," said Tait. "Our motto is 'born to score' and we want them to have a chance to make those goals."

Tait said the fields, two standard fields and a five-on-five field, should be ready to play on by August. The fields need more work and Tait has already contributed a lawnmower to help maintain them along with his trip this week to help prepare the fields in person.

Tait, who sold the successful game Cranuim to Hasbro, founded Golazo both as a beverage company and as a way to build up communities. He's found a way to proceed with the help of Rivera and his story.

For Rivera it's a case of giving back to the community he grew up in. He was born in Mexico but raised in the Yakima Valley.

Earlier last Tuesday, the group visited Washington Middle School in Yakima, where Rivera once was a student.

"It was quite a role reversal," he said. He talked about being soccer-mad as a child and meeting the coach of Davis High School's soccer squad. The middle school student Rivera asked the coach if he could someday play on the Davis team.

"The coach looked me over and said, 'no, you're too small.' I went to Eisenhower and I loved kicking butt against Davis every year," said Rivera.

A documentary about Rivera, "A Most Improbable Life," is available on the Golazo website at

"We are using the movie as a platform to show human potential," said Tait. "We want people to know they can make it to the top no matter where they come from."

Watch Santa Maria Rivera’s movie and learn more about Golazo at!

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