New football club gives youth equitable access to competitive sports
September 1, 2022
A group of young players make their way down the grassy field at Pickleweed Park, shouting plays to their teammates during a scrimmage, while others maneuver their soccer balls around a set of cones and into a goal. After five years of planning and organizing, the dream of having a competitive Football Club in the Canal neighborhood is now a reality.
There is no shortage of competitive youth soccer leagues in Marin but the high costs and travel times are prohibitive for many families. The Canal FC was created to lift those barriers and provide youth with access to competitive sports.
Participation is low cost and scholarships are available to families. Practices are held in the neighborhood — the City of San Rafael donated the field costs — and Marin FC and other funders are covering the costs of coaching and operations.
The program is led by Coach Edwin Tenorio, a 2006 World Cup soccer player. Coach Tenorio recognizes that there is a lot more work ahead but has big goals for the program. “I want this club to be competitive and show the rest of the community that Canal FC is here to stay. The youth have a lot of potential.”
Coach Tenorio is supported by several professional coaches, including Marin FC Coach Luis (Luigi) Flores. “I grew up here in the Canal,” Flores notes, “and I think it’s great that Marin FC has partnered to help make Canal FC happen. When I was younger, I stopped practicing soccer because my family couldn’t afford to keep sending me to practice.”
In addition to years of behind-the-scenes planning, outreach to the community was a critical step in the formation of the club. The players, girls and boys ages 9 to 15, began their participation at a football clinic in April.
The Canal FC is the brainchild of Omar Carrera, CEO of Canal Alliance;Evan Cross, Marin FC Board President; Marina Palma, Voces del Canal and Joaquin Escoto, Founder of Access U Foundation. The Canal FC is structured as a program under the Marin FC.
Carrera credits the multiple organizers for making the program a reality: “The partnerships we have built with the City of San Rafael, Marin FC and the Access U Foundation help us lift the barriers that prevent talented kids from continuing to play this sport at a competitive level.”
Several members of Voces del Canal, a neighborhood advocacy group and a key coalition partner, were at a recent practice, to connect with parents and recruit new players. “We mean it when we said we want everyone to have access to this program,” said Marina Palma, a Voces Del Canal leader. “This is huge for the Canal community.”
Though the Canal FC is in its early stages, organizers are committed to the program’s longevity and growth, ensuring more equitable access for youth into the future. Participation fee: $75; scholarships available.
Donations to the Canal FC are both needed and greatly appreciated. Marin FC is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization under Federal Identification number 20-8903618, and our state charity registration number RF0006736.
All donations are tax deductible.
Donate now: https://www.marinfc.org/canal-fc-donate/
Learn more about Canal FC: firstname.lastname@example.org