Walnut Middle School Fútbol Finding Ways

Nov 09, 2023

Rev Cesar Duran has served with Soccer Chaplains United for some eight years and now lives in Nebraska, close to his son, César. His son is soon to begin his seventh year as a coach at Walnut Middle School in Grand Isle, Nebraska. The school is school is a Title I school — meaning that the majority of students are on a free or reduced lunch background.

Coach César serves a team of 100+ players along with 3 assistant coaches and two volunteers. When he took over in 2019, the team saw about 60 players come try out. Each year that number has grown. As a school team, for many of the students, this will be the last time they will ever play for an actual team.

As a Title I school, the sports programs require doing fundraisers for equipment or finding unique ways of getting more gear with limited funding and resources.

Our team has had the same practice balls for 6 years. The school is doing its best to purchase new soccer balls and last year we received 10 new ones, but it is a challenge with such a large number of players.

Coach César, on the limited resources for Walnut Fútbol

For Coach César, it’s more than just about fútbol (soccer). He shares about how he is trying to use the game to help these young men.

We share the love to the players by having lessons and conversations on the stereotypes of being a young man. Our students and athletes have challenges with gangs, drugs and the pressure of the young boys having to show off to “survive”… We also work with them on conversations about careers and preparing as they start their high school days…We only get two years to be with them but our connections have stayed with them and many of them come back for games and practices.

Coach César, on the importance of making an impact on the young boys’ lives

Specifically, Coach César has requested the following:

  • 50 soccer balls
  • 50 jerseys
  • Goalkeeper sets

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