16 June 2014

SOS Youth Leader Teaches the Power of Sports to Children

(Photo: Josefa López)

(06/16/2014): For more than 23 years, Jacob Calero Rodriquez has dedicated his life to teaching young people the value of sportsmanship.

After working as a sports instructor at the SOS Village in Juigalpa, Nicaragua for ten years, Jacob became an SOS Youth Leader in 2005.

His job is to assist and support children on their paths toward independence. Jacob considers sports and athletics a vital part of doing his job.

“Sports are an important tool for encouraging values such as confidence, discipline, and perseverance,” he said.  

In his long career, Jacob has enjoyed countless successes. One of his favorite moments occurred in an indoor soccer tournament in Managua, Nicaragua.

Twenty-six teams from all over the country gathered for the competition and he was coaching an SOS team of 10 teenagers.

The team fought their way to the finals and nerves were high going into the last match.

“You could smell fear and see nervous fingers in our meeting before the finals, but confidence took over and the team spirit manifested in hugs and encouraging slaps on the back,” Jacob said.  

“The boy's hearts were filled with joy when they lifted their winning trophy, a symbol of triumph and effort."

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Currently, Jacob works with 14 boy athletes. Every Saturday at practice, they are reminded that they are there to learn more than how to run, jump, and score.

"The purpose of the game is to have fun, but you have to be disciplined in order to cultivate humility and honesty," Jacob tells his players.

He coaches many talented players, including 19-year-old Nadir Antonio, a versatile athlete who loves to play most sports.

Nadir’s talents are matched only by his ambition.

“I want to compete at Olympic Games. In the meantime, I will prepare well so that I will be chosen to represent my country in the national team soon,” he said.

Nadir said he expects Jacob to be with him when he qualifies for the Olympics.

With his love of sports and his passion for promoting growth in children through sports, Jacob has given an incredible gift to SOS Children’s Villages and to the children who follow in his footsteps.

This story is part of a series looking at the powerful impact sports and recreation has on children in SOS Villages around the world. Find more stories and ways to help here.

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