On Thursday, April 21, San Jose Earthquakes forward Dwayne De Rosario visited kids from the City Year youth program in Sunnyvale. Around 70 middle school students enthusiastically welcomed the local soccer star in the Columbia Middle School gymnasium for a short speech from De Rosario on soccer and motivation, a question and answer session, and finally an autograph signing.
De Rosario shared his life story with the kids about the road he took that led him to his professional and international soccer career. The Canadian national team member challenged the students to pursue their dreams and to dedicate themselves to their passions. He also emphasized the need to practice and work hard in order to make your dreams come true.
Following his speech, the students as well as the City Year corps members drilled De Rosario with tons of questions. He shared memories of traveling around the world to play soccer, talked about his typical training schedule as a professional athlete, and answered questions about his childhood in Canada and his current family. "They were focused on getting as much out of me as possible!" laughed the Quakes forward.
As if he hadn't won the group over already, De Rosario proceeded to talk to and sign a picture for every person in the program. One young girl named Marissa went through the autograph line three times to have her favorite Quakes player sign not only her photograph, but also her t-shirt and bare arm.
City Year is a non-profit organization that recruits 17 to 24 year olds who spend time focusing on community service, leadership, and civic engagement. With Quakes players attending each of the four City Year spring camps in the San Jose area this year, corps member Suzzette Casillas praised the Earthquakes for being the program's biggest supporter. "Every time one of these Earthquakes players come out, they just make these kids' dreams become a reality," said Casillas. "A lot of these kids don't have role models at home, so it's nice to know that they can get that from local athletes."
De Rosario was a huge success with both the students and corps members involved in City Year. "I like working with kids to explain to them how I became an athlete and the road it takes to walk to show them the realities of being a professional athlete," said De Rosario. "It's important to get out and talk to them because kids are the men and women of tomorrow; they are the future."