Local Soccer Coach Raises Funds To Equip Colombian Youth With Soccer Gear And Skills For Better Life

By Cheryl Conway

As a soccer player since he was four and coach for the past decade, 26-year old Sebastian Castillo-Giraldo’s current goal is to pay it forward and help youth from his native country.

Castillo-Giraldo of Wharton has started a Go Fund Me page to purchase training equipment and provide soccer clinics to hundreds of inner city children of Colombia. The children he aims to reach live in the city of Medellin as well as Supia, Caldas, the town he was born.

He plans to travel in May for ten days, May 13-May 23, with three of his soccer students and a friend, Marc Reynolds of Succasunna, a photographer/filmmaker who will be documenting the trip.

“It’s time I pay it forward to those who are less fortunate and give approximately 300 kids an opportunity to use soccer as a vehicle to improve their lives,”  Castillo-Giraldo states on his Go Fund Me site. “The game has allowed me to attend college and has shaped me to be the human I am today.”

Castillo-Giraldo grew up in Colombia, during the time of civil war, which had ended in 2016 when the peace treaty was signed, he explains. While conditions were rough, Castillo-Giraldo says “soccer was big in my town.”

He started playing at the age of four; continued to play when he came to U.S. with his parents in 1998, in the fourth grade; playing at Morris Hills High School in Rockaway and college, at both County College of Morris in Randolph and the Centenary University in Hackettstown,  before becoming a soccer coach 10 years ago.

Castillo-Giraldo has been a soccer coach in Mt. Olive, in its camps and premier soccer program; ran the select soccer camps at Morris Hills now called Morris County Summer Select; and has been the first assistant coach for the men’s soccer team at CCM since 2017.   
Through soccer, “you learn discipline, hard work, determination and team work,” says Castillo-Giraldo, teaching assistant and graduate research assistant at Monmouth University. “Those kids need it,” he says about the children in Colombia, “to help them move up in the ladder of life.

“Colombia is a third world country; soccer is a tool to avoid falling into drug use and alcoholism,” he continues on the Go Fund Me page. “It’s a beacon of hope as well as a stimulator to dream big and achieve success in life.

As a world history graduate student at Monmouth University, Castillo-Giraldo is currently writing his master’s thesis on “How Soccer Explains the World.”

It was in the first week of December 2017 when Castillo-Giraldo started his Go Fund Me page to help youth in Colombia. A family friend who works for the government in Colombia has identified and connected Castillo-Giraldo with youth teams most in need.

Mt. Olive Soccer Club “donated a plethora of new gear,” says Castillo-Giraldo. About 90 percent of its donations are brand new and include uniforms, soccer socks, shorts, sweats, sweaters and jerseys.

Kinnelon High School donated some gear as well.

Most needed now is the financial support, he says, as his goal is to purchase 200 brand new Adidas balls that cost $3,000.

“I can’t have soccer clinics unless I have balls for the kids,” he says. “Balls are really expensive.” The ones he plans to provide are expected to last three to five years and are “ideal for their practices and their games,” he says.

Funds will also cover costs for cones and ladders as well as shipping boxes of equipment; soccer clinics for kids with proper training skills; followed my mini-talks to discuss “the power of soccer.”

His plan is to help 20 youth teams with proper equipment and gear. He estimates that the boys and girls will be between the ages of 8 and 15.

“I’ll be running clinic and drills,” he says, with two to three practices daily.

While cycling is popular in Colombia too, Castillo-Giraldo says the “predominant sport in Colombia is soccer. It’s a passion you learn to love and you hold dear to you. The whole country plays and the whole country watches them, the Colombia National Team, national pride. Even with all the unrest, when our country was being torn to pieces,” he explains how soccer provides a sense of pride “that brings the whole country together.”

He now wants to share his love for soccer.

“When I was a little kid playing in Colombia, I had great coaches that didn’t know me,” he says. “I think it’s only right to share my knowledge of soccer with those kids so they can move forward. Everyone in my family has played soccer, like it’s in my blood, in my DNA.

“Race doesn’t matter, class doesn’t matter, religion doesn’t matter. It’s just the talents and skills each person brings to the table what truly matters.”

Reynolds, who met Castillo-Giraldo about seven years ago when he became his eldest son’s soccer coach of Villa at NJ Dynamo, couldn’t agree more and looks forward to the trip.

“I love the game of soccer; I have three sons who play,” says Reynolds. “I believe soccer should be accessible to everyone regardless of income or anything else. I know the happiness it brings and I feel everyone deserves that.”

With plans to video their trip, Reynolds says “it’s about me telling a story. This to me is a story worth telling. It’s about soccer, but it’s more about humanity and giving back. I hope to capture the happiness we bring to the kids that we meet. I also want to capture Sebastian’s big/generous heart.”

Donations are still being collected through May 1.

We need your help to raise as much money as possible to spread as much hope as we can,” says Castillo-Giraldo. He and his fellow travelers will self-fund their flights and expenses.

With a goal to collect $4,500, as of press time $1,095 has been raised. Donate at  https://www.gofundme.com/soccer-clinics-for-kids-in-colombia.

My name is Sebastian Castillo-Giraldo, and I’m 26 years old. I’m a History Graduate Student and currently writing my Master’s Thesis at Monmouth University on “How Soccer Explains the World.” I’m also the first Assitant Coach for the County College of Morris Men’s Soccer Program. As you can see soccer is an essential part of my life, and it has provided me with incredible opportunities. The game has allowed me to attend college and has shaped me to be the human I am today. It’s time I pay it forward to those who are less fortunate and give approximately 300 kids an opportunity to use soccer as a vehicle to improve their lives.

This project will benefit both inner-city children of Colombia in the city of Medellin, as well as the children of Supia, Caldas the town where I was born. The funds are for the following three components: Buying training equipment (Balls, Cones, and Ladders), shipping the boxes with the material to Colombia and the plane ticket to Colombia approximately $500. I have colleagues who are willing to volunteer their time and come and help me bring the equipment to the children. We will also be providing soccer clinics for the kids, where we provide them with proper training skills to continue to develop their knowledge of the game. At the end of each training session, we will have “mini-talks” where we discuss the power of soccer and how they can use it as a vehicle for an improvement of their lives. Colombia is a third world country; soccer as a tool to avoid falling into drug use and alcoholism. It is a beacon of hope as well as a stimulator to dream big and achieve success in life. I have projected to be able to help twenty youth teams during the trip with proper equipment and gear.

The goal is to be able to travel in May directly after the Spring semester ends. Having your support would mean the world to me because I want to provide through soccer what it has provided for me all my life. I want to build relationships with these kids and be able to stay in contact with them and offer advice on school, life, or soccer-related matters. I will be documenting our travels so you can keep up with the daily operations of this trip. The sooner I’m able to meet these goals the sooner I will be ready to begin purchasing equipment, and packing the boxes.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you for donating, spreading the word, and giving this cause any attention. My name is Sebastian Castillo-Giraldo, and I’m 26 years old. I’m a History Graduate Student and currently writing my Master’s Thesis at Monmouth University on “How Soccer Explains the World.” I’m also the first Assitant Coach for the County College of Morris Men’s Soccer Program. As you can see soccer is an essential part of my life, and it has provided me with incredible opportunities. The game has allowed me to attend college and has shaped me to be the human I am today. It’s time I pay it forward to those who are less fortunate and give approximately 300 kids an opportunity to use soccer as a vehicle to improve their lives.

This project will benefit both inner-city children of Colombia in the city of Medellin, as well as the children of Supia, Caldas the town where I was born. The funds are for the following three components: Buying training equipment (Balls, Cones, and Ladders), shipping the boxes with the material to Colombia and the plane ticket to Colombia approximately $500. I have colleagues who are willing to volunteer their time and come and help me bring the equipment to the children. We will also be providing soccer clinics for the kids, where we provide them with proper training skills to continue to develop their knowledge of the game. At the end of each training session, we will have “mini-talks” where we discuss the power of soccer and how they can use it as a vehicle for an improvement of their lives. Colombia is a third world country; soccer as a tool to avoid falling into drug use and alcoholism. It is a beacon of hope as well as a stimulator to dream big and achieve success in life. I have projected to be able to help twenty youth teams during the trip with proper equipment and gear.

The goal is to be able to travel in May directly after the Spring semester ends. Having your support would mean the world to me because I want to provide through soccer what it has provided for me all my life. I want to build relationships with these kids and be able to stay in contact with them and offer advice on school, life, or soccer-related matters. I will be documenting our travels so you can keep up with the daily operations of this trip. The sooner I’m able to meet these goals the sooner I will be ready to begin purchasing equipment, and packing the boxes.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you for donating, spreading the word, and giving this cause any attention. My name is Sebastian Castillo-Giraldo, and I’m 26 years old. I’m a History Graduate Student and currently writing my Master’s Thesis at Monmouth University on “How Soccer Explains the World.” I’m also the first Assitant Coach for the County College of Morris Men’s Soccer Program. As you can see soccer is an essential part of my life, and it has provided me with incredible opportunities. The game has allowed me to attend college and has shaped me to be the human I am today. It’s time I pay it forward to those who are less fortunate and give approximately 300 kids an opportunity to use soccer as a vehicle to improve their lives.

This project will benefit both inner-city children of Colombia in the city of Medellin, as well as the children of Supia, Caldas the town where I was born. The funds are for the following three components: Buying training equipment (Balls, Cones, and Ladders), shipping the boxes with the material to Colombia and the plane ticket to Colombia approximately $500. I have colleagues who are willing to volunteer their time and come and help me bring the equipment to the children. We will also be providing soccer clinics for the kids, where we provide them with proper training skills to continue to develop their knowledge of the game. At the end of each training session, we will have “mini-talks” where we discuss the power of soccer and how they can use it as a vehicle for an improvement of their lives. Colombia is a third world country; soccer as a tool to avoid falling into drug use and alcoholism. It is a beacon of hope as well as a stimulator to dream big and achieve success in life. I have projected to be able to help twenty youth teams during the trip with proper equipment and gear.

The goal is to be able to travel in May directly after the Spring semester ends. Having your support would mean the world to me because I want to provide through soccer what it has provided for me all my life. I want to build relationships with these kids and be able to stay in contact with them and offer advice on school, life, or soccer-related matters. I will be documenting our travels so you can keep up with the daily operations of this trip. The sooner I’m able to meet these goals the sooner I will be ready to begin purchasing equipment, and packing the boxes.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you for donating, spreading the word, and giving this cause any attention. My name is Sebastian Castillo-Giraldo, and I’m 26 years old. I’m a History Graduate Student and currently writing my Master’s Thesis at Monmouth University on “How Soccer Explains the World.” I’m also the first Assitant Coach for the County College of Morris Men’s Soccer Program. As you can see soccer is an essential part of my life, and it has provided me with incredible opportunities. The game has allowed me to attend college and has shaped me to be the human I am today. It’s time I pay it forward to those who are less fortunate and give approximately 300 kids an opportunity to use soccer as a vehicle to improve their lives.

This project will benefit both inner-city children of Colombia in the city of Medellin, as well as the children of Supia, Caldas the town where I was born. The funds are for the following three components: Buying training equipment (Balls, Cones, and Ladders), shipping the boxes with the material to Colombia and the plane ticket to Colombia approximately $500. I have colleagues who are willing to volunteer their time and come and help me bring the equipment to the children. We will also be providing soccer clinics for the kids, where we provide them with proper training skills to continue to develop their knowledge of the game. At the end of each training session, we will have “mini-talks” where we discuss the power of soccer and how they can use it as a vehicle for an improvement of their lives. Colombia is a third world country; soccer as a tool to avoid falling into drug use and alcoholism. It is a beacon of hope as well as a stimulator to dream big and achieve success in life. I have projected to be able to help twenty youth teams during the trip with proper equipment and gear.

The goal is to be able to travel in May directly after the Spring semester ends. Having your support would mean the world to me because I want to provide through soccer what it has provided for me all my life. I want to build relationships with these kids and be able to stay in contact with them and offer advice on school, life, or soccer-related matters. I will be documenting our travels so you can keep up with the daily operations of this trip. The sooner I’m able to meet these goals the sooner I will be ready to begin purchasing equipment, and packing the boxes.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you for donating, spreading the word, and giving this cause any attention.

My name is Sebastian Castillo-Giraldo, and I’m 26 years old. I’m a History Graduate Student and currently writing my Master’s Thesis at Monmouth University on “How Soccer Explains the World.” I’m also the first Assitant Coach for the County College of Morris Men’s Soccer Program. As you can see soccer is an essential part of my life, and it has provided me with incredible opportunities. The game has allowed me to attend college and has shaped me to be the human I am today. It’s time I pay it forward to those who are less fortunate and give approximately 300 kids an opportunity to use soccer as a vehicle to improve their lives.

This project will benefit both inner-city children of Colombia in the city of Medellin, as well as the children of Supia, Caldas the town where I was born. The funds are for the following three components: Buying training equipment (Balls, Cones, and Ladders), shipping the boxes with the material to Colombia and the plane ticket to Colombia approximately $500. I have colleagues who are willing to volunteer their time and come and help me bring the equipment to the children. We will also be providing soccer clinics for the kids, where we provide them with proper training skills to continue to develop their knowledge of the game. At the end of each training session, we will have “mini-talks” where we discuss the power of soccer and how they can use it as a vehicle for an improvement of their lives. Colombia is a third world country; soccer as a tool to avoid falling into drug use and alcoholism. It is a beacon of hope as well as a stimulator to dream big and achieve success in life. I have projected to be able to help twenty youth teams during the trip with proper equipment and gear.

The goal is to be able to travel in May directly after the Spring semester ends. Having your support would mean the world to me because I want to provide through soccer what it has provided for me all my life. I want to build relationships with these kids and be able to stay in contact with them and offer advice on school, life, or soccer-related matters. I will be documenting our travels so you can keep up with the daily operations of this trip. The sooner I’m able to meet these goals the sooner I will be ready to begin purchasing equipment, and packing the boxes.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you for donating, spreading the word, and giving this cause any attention. This project will benefit both inner-city children of Colombia in the city of Medellin, as well as the children of Supia, Caldas the town where I was born. The funds are for the following three components: Buying training equipment (Balls, Cones, and Ladders), shipping the boxes with the material to Colombia and the plane ticket to Colombia approximately $500. I have colleagues who are willing to volunteer their time and come and help me bring the equipment to the children. We will also be providing soccer clinics for the kids, where we provide them with proper training skills to continue to develop their knowledge of the game. At the end of each training session, we will have “mini-talks” where we discuss the power of soccer and how they can use it as a vehicle for an improvement of their lives. Colombia is a third world country; soccer as a tool to avoid falling into drug use and alcoholism. It is a beacon of hope as well as a stimulator to dream big and achieve success in life. I have projected to be able to help twenty youth teams during the trip with proper equipment and gear.

My name is Sebastian Castillo-Giraldo, and I’m 26 years old. I’m a History Graduate Student and currently writing my Master’s Thesis at Monmouth University on “How Soccer Explains the World.” I’m also the first Assitant Coach for the County College of Morris Men’s Soccer Program. As you can see soccer is an essential part of my life, and it has provided me with incredible opportunities. The game has allowed me to attend college and has shaped me to be the human I am today. It’s time I pay it forward to those who are less fortunate and give approximately 300 kids an opportunity to use soccer as a vehicle to improve their lives.

My name is Sebastian Castillo-Giraldo, and I’m 26 years old. I’m a History Graduate Student and currently writing my Master’s Thesis at Monmouth University on “How Soccer Explains the World.” I’m also the first Assitant Coach for the County College of Morris Men’s Soccer Program. As you can see soccer is an essential part of my life, and it has provided me with incredible opportunities. The game has allowed me to attend college and has shaped me to be the human I am today. It’s time I pay it forward to those who are less fortunate and give approximately 300 kids an opportunity to use soccer as a vehicle to improve their lives. My name is Sebastian Castillo-Giraldo, and I’m 26 years old. I’m a History Graduate Student and currently writing my Master’s Thesis at Monmouth University on “How Soccer Explains the World.” I’m also the first Assitant Coach for the County College of Morris Men’s Soccer Program. As you can see soccer is an essential part of my life, and it has provided me with incredible opportunities. The game has allowed me to attend college and has shaped me to be the human I am today. It’s time I pay it forward to those who are less fortunate and give approximately 300 kids an opportunity to use soccer as a vehicle to improve their lives.

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