Corbett Hess knows club soccer is expensive. But the coach has been making it possible for a Phoenix team of boys who otherwise wouldn't have the chance to play.
He's been coaching the Excel Soccer Academy team of 13 and 14-year-old boys for five years.
The skills they bring to the field, Hess said, is only part of what makes them so special.
"They are good kids. Kids that get good grades, want to be at practice. These kids are eager for me to pick them up. They're waiting. They have their shirts tucked in. They're polite at practice," Hess added.
The majority of the boys are from disadvantaged families and Hess, who doesn't get paid for his role as coach, sponsors nearly all of them with his own money.
"They're just a great group of kids, and I'm just trying to help them become good young men as well," he said.
The life skills Hess tries to teach them off the field are matched only by the skills he's been able to teach them on the field.
"I demand excellence from them at all times," he adds.
That excellence helped the team win the Arizona Youth Soccer Association's Presidents cup.
"It was a great feeling because last year we lost in the finals, and now we're finally going and representing the state of Arizona and it's really exciting," said team player Adrian Quintero.
Now, it's on to the U.S. Youth Soccer Presidents Cup regional tournament in California, where the team will represent Arizona in June.
"It's a big honor to represent Arizona and it was exciting," said team player Isaac Vazquez.
The trip, however, will cost the team $15,000. That's money most of their families can't afford.
"At times I do worry that we won't raise the money," Vazquez said about their efforts to come up with the money to pay for the trip.
The team is holding a raffle, car washes and is reaching out to the community with a Go Fund Me campaign. Hess is hoping folks will see in these kids their all-around excellence and will help support them and their once-in-a-lifetime dream.
"It was glory for them and obviously this is something that they work towards kind of every year when they go to the tournament at the end of the season," he said.
Click GO FUND ME to donate to the team's fundraising effort.
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