She shoots and scores
Astoria-based Yasmine Sanchez wins national acclaim for teaching life lessons on NYC soccer fields, writes Mike Donahue
Yasmine Sanchez is a goal setter, a goal maker and goal keeper. The Queensborough Community College biotechnology student and soccer enthusiast has been recognized nationally by ESPN as a sports humanitarian of the year.Presented with the Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award this summer, her work with New York City children throughout the five boroughs has been celebrated for its inclusivity, diversity and health awareness.
Ms. Sanchez designed, implemented and runs a free, five-week soccer program that employs 50 teenagers and connects 500 children across the city, delivering life-lessons on the soccer field that emphasize well-being, communications, leadership and more.
“When kids on the field hold hands and dribble, they have to work as a team. We also incorporate lessons about food choices by using color-coded cones and markers with games that equally focus on foot-work. It’s about incorporating learning and having fun,” Yasmine said, as she conducted a lesson at Triborough Bridge Park, in Astoria, at a soccer field built with support from the New York City Football Club.
A Queensborough sophomore – first inspired by her high school biology teacher – Yasmine has another goal: a career in education.
“Yasmine embodies Queensborough College’s traditions and values of diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Queensborough’s Interim President, Dr. Timothy Lynch.
“She is providing wide access and opportunity to children in her program and giving each of them the personal support they need to succeed.”
With a love for the sport that she developed as a child, Yasmine has also taught children computer technology by programming robots to kick balls.
“I’m interested in so many things from social media to law to finance. I’m active in my community and always educating myself. Teaching makes sense for me,” she added, just before returning to the sidelines and her players.
Another example of Ms. Sanchez’s humanitarian and community interests extends to the Manhattan DA’s office where she has worked on violence prevention and youth development.
“Today one of our little soccer players just wanted to have possession of the ball and kick goals. We worked with him so he better appreciated passing and sharing with his teammates. He’s learning to value cooperation; something he’s not used to doing,” she explained. “That’s better than scoring a point.”
Born in Brooklyn and moved around New York’s foster care system, Yasmine now lives in Astoria with her parents and will return to Queensborough for the fall semester.
“I want to tie all of my interests together though education. The further I progress at Queensborough Community College, the deeper I want to go.”
The award, the result of a highly competitive nomination process, was presented by tennis great and icon Billie Jean King. ESPN will showcase highlights from the Sports Humanitarian Awards tonight during a special one-hour program at 7 pm ET.
Contact: Mike Donahue