The Portland Timbers hosted over 100 girls Friday afternoon at JELD-WEN Field supporting Adelante Chicas, an after-school development program for young Latinas.
Adelante Chicas serves over 200 girls from third to 12th grades in the Forest Grove School District and Evergreen Middle School in Hillsboro with a focus on healthy lifestyles, leadership, a strong sense of cultural identity and ultimately, pursuing higher education after high school.
Part of the program includes a soccer academy for its participants. “The girls are encouraged to be a better person and to apply the disciplines that they learn on the field to their everyday lives,” said academy coordinator Miguel Cholula.
“They are desiring to play a sport, and they’ve never done that before. We’re happy that these girls are enjoying the sport and the soccer academy.”
In keeping true to the Portland Timbers’ Somos Timbers initiative, hosting Adelante Chicas served to encourage and engage young Latinas with the sport of soccer. The girls enjoyed a stadium and locker room tour and drills on the field with Timbers strength and conditioning coach John Ireland. “This is a great experience for these girls,” said Cholula.
“They’re excited. For them, it’s unbelievable.”
Adelante Chicas director Cecilia Giron agreed. “Soccer is a part of who these girls are and a part of their culture. It’s important that they get involved and are proud of being Latina,” she said.
“Events like this motivate our girls to be involved, move forward and to dream big.”
This event also coincided with the 40th anniversary of the enactment of Title IX, and Major League Soccer’s “Keep Her in the Game” initiative. With young girls are twice as likely to drop out of sports than young boys by the age of 14, “Keep Her in the Game” aims to support young female athletes, and keep them involved.