Congratulations to Salvador (Sal) Uriostegui, who has been selected to travel to Haiti next month to lead YESsoccer's Mission Possible, which will build a soccer program at Yahve Jire Orphanage in Port Au Prince.
Sal is Community Ambassador for our Chicago Fire Soccer In The Community affiliate, where he represents the Fire in their commitment to provide free, year-round soccer programming to schools, clubs and park districts throughout Chicagoland.
Sal is also an influential member of Premier Skills in Chicago, a Premier League/British Council initiative that uses soccer to create safer, stronger and more respectful communities around the world. Sal's passion for community outreach makes him the perfect fit for our mission to Haiti.
Sal, how did you develop a heart for serving others?
By serving others. I know that sounds simple, but my parents always encouraged me to take every opportunity to do community outreach and mission work. I've volunteered at a community center for children from low-income households and assisted students at an afterschool peer-mentoring program. In college I was President of HABLAMOS, an organization that supports Hispanic culture and visits schools to talk about the importance of doing well in school and the benefits of going to college. And I've also helped students with disabilities through an organization called Best Buddies.
What interested you in our Haiti mission?
A few years ago I was part of a ten-day trip to El Salvador with Habitat for Humanity, where we built a house for an indigent family. So I was fortunate to learn about a different culture and also help people in need. The Haiti mission excited me because it's an opportunity to do both again, and to also use soccer to better the lives of children at the orphanage and maybe even the community and country beyond the orphanage walls. It's an honor to be selected for the mission.
Bringing it back home, what kind of impact do you think FireSITC can have in Chicagoland's communities?
I think we've only scratched the surface of how Soccer In The Community can positively impact players, coaches and families across Chicagoland. Soccer is a vehicle to teach children how to become part of a team, overcome adversity, work alone and with others, and to strive to do your best. I think that life is more meaningful when we can help others to become the best that they can be.
I grew up in some bad neighborhoods in Chicago, and soccer helped me resist some of the of the negative influences that could have taken my life in the wrong direction. As a Community Ambassador I get to pay the game back, while paying it forward. I know that soccer has the potential to make communities a healthier place, and so I want to take the game to as many kids and families as I can. I expect to see and learn things in Haiti that will make me a better ambassador here in Chicago, and I'm very excited about that.