Monica Trujillo Honored as Sounders'
Volunteer of the Year

Lake Washington Youth Soccer Association volunteer has played a crucial role in association's One League for Everyone program

By Brian Beaky
Editor, PlayOn!

Monica Trujillo became involved with soccer several years ago in the same way as many adults of her generation – as a parent. Last month, as a record crowd of over 60,000 at CenturyLink Field stood and applauded, Trujillo held a trophy in her hands, her three young children smiling up at her as she beamed and marveled at the stadium JumboTron, thinking – is that really my name up there?

It was. Trujillo – a soccer parent, coach and volunteer in the Lake Washington Youth Soccer Association – was honored by Seattle Sounders F.C. and MLS W.O.R.K.S., Major League Soccer's community service organization, as the MLS W.O.R.K.S. Seattle Sounders Volunteer of the Year, one of 19 such honors bestowed by MLS clubs around the country in 2012.

To accept the honor – and with it, her nomination for MLS W.O.R.K.S.' National Volunteer of the Year Award – Trujillo and her family were invited to the Sounders' Aug. 18 game against Vancouver, where they were treated as guests of honor, complete with front-row seats, an invitation onto the field to watch pre-game warmups, and the pregame ceremony where she received the trophy, an autographed ball, and the kind of ovation most fans only dream of.

"As a fan, it was an incredible experience," she says, "Something I never thought would happen. It was very cool."

It was also very much deserved. Trujillo has been an integral part of the Lake Washington Youth Soccer Association's One League for Everyone (OLE) program, which seeks to bridge the economic and cultural gap between traditional youth soccer organizations and the many low-income and non-English-speaking families living in the Seattle area.

In addition to translating registration forms and other important documents into different languages (primarily Spanish) to reach youth who might not otherwise participate, the program also provides scholarships to families for whom soccer would otherwise be cost-prohibitive. In 2012, OLE helped to register 300 players for Lake Washington Youth Soccer Association who likely wouldn't have registered due to language or economic barriers. One third of those scholarships are provided by LWYSA, with the remaining two thirds funded through private donations.

"We're trying to get kids integrated into the community," says Trujillo, who hands out registration forms at local schools with a high number of low-income students, or those from non-English-speaking households, and works as a communicator between the families and LWYSA. "Instead of being separated because of their language, or their family's income, they get to play on these teams and be just like all of the other kids. Nobody knows they're on scholarship. They're just out there having fun. They're one of the team."

When Trujillo speaks to families about the impact of OLE, she is speaking from experience – her oldest son, now 11 years old, was one of the program's first beneficiaries.

"My oldest child was diagnosed with ADHD, and having him in soccer has really helped with being a part of the team, working with teammates, and being around kids his own age," she says. "And that's helped me, too."

Trujillo says that the personal growth her kids have made over the past few years wouldn't have been possible without the assistance of OLE, one reason she was determined to give back.

"I wanted to get my kids involved, but there was the problem of money," she recalls. "Many families don't get involved with youth soccer because they don't speak English, or can't afford to play. Now, we're able to get these kids involved, because there is no language barrier."

Of course, she still never imagined she'd be standing one day on the pitch at CenturyLink Field, her kids alongside her as her image and name were projected onto the big screen.

"It was very exciting to be recognized by the Sounders in that way," she says, smiling at the memory. "I never expected that."

Learn more about Lake Washington Youth Soccer Association's One League for Everyone program!

Washington Youth Soccer

Washington Youth Soccer • 500 S. 336th St. Suite 100 • Federal Way, WA 98003
1-877-424-4318 (Toll Free) • (253) 4-SOCCER (476-2237)

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