DENVER -- Youth sports are an important part of a child's formation, yet the cost to participate is skyrocketing across the country.
Despite these setbacks, a Denver inner city soccer club is working to make sure low-income children have an opportunity to succeed in sports and life.
The Skyline Soccer Association applied for a grant and received funds to build an indoor soccer facility.
Skyline Denver coordinator Neil Alvarado knows the importance of youth sports.
His family emigrated to inner city Los Angeles from South America when he was a little boy.
“Soccer was a language I could speak regardless of who I was with,” said Alvarado.
Alvarado told Denver7 soccer kept him out of trouble and taught him life skills that would bring him success in life.
“I’ve been blessed. I’m the first in my family to graduate from college. I’m living the American Dream today, and the least I can do is give back to the community,” he said.
He wants to give back because his experience is out of reach for many American children.
While soccer is free or very affordable in the rest of the world, Alvarado believes American’s disposable income is driving up our costs.
“The cost of sports have gone considerably high, and it’s creating a gap from kids who have the passion but don’t have the funds,” said Alvarado. “I want to make sure these kids know that there are people fighting for them here in America today, standing on their behalf and speaking on their behalf to help them."
As part of the program, neighborhood kids can come here to play every day for a minimal fee.
Alvarado believes the small fee is important to teach the athletes nothing is free, and someone else had to give so they can play.
“Midfield is my favorite position because I like passing the ball and making goals,” said Carlos Gonzalez, 11.
Gonzalez plays with Skyline, and said he is learning a lot about teamwork and setting goals.
“Coach tells us if we don’t make good grades we don’t get to play soccer. So we have to get good grades,” Gonzalez told Denver7.
For Carlos’s mother, Estefany Terrones, the soccer field truly is the refuge Neil hoped it would be.
“He plays like it’s his life. It’s really the number one thing for him right now,” said Terrones.
This program is made up of the affluent, immigrants, and even refugees -- but on the grass, they’re all the same. Alvarado said he hopes the boys and girls leave this gym inspired for decades to come.
“I want these kids to be able to give back the way others have given to them,” said Alvarado.
The gym is located in Ruby Hill and a ribbon cutting is planned next Thursday.
A Denver Public School across the street will also use the facility.