UPDATED | CITY HALL, NY — On Thursday, Council Member Francisco Moya and the Hispanic Federation condemned the Trump administration’s decision to end English classes, soccer and legal aid for unaccompanied minors in federal custody.
“I don’t know if the country will remember the Trump presidency for its divisiveness, corruption or incompetence, but I’ll remember it for its cruelty,” Council Member Francisco Moya said. “Cruelty for the sake of cruelty is a hallmark of this administration and its decision to end English classes, soccer programs and legal aid for unaccompanied minors is just further evidence of that fact. These kids didn’t come here because things were fine back home. Nobody seeks asylum on a winning streak. They were desperate and in need of the humanity this country has prided itself on offering.
“Some may argue that soccer is a waste of money,” Council Member Moya said. “They are wrong. There may be nothing so universally unifying as soccer. These kids might not have hugged their parent’s in weeks, they might lie awake at night crying, they might be scared and confused about what comes next. But when they get a chance to chase a ball around the pitch, they get to feel at home. They recognize the game, even if everything around them is unfamiliar. It’s the one thing that provides a respite from boredom and worries, the one thing that can put a smile on their face. That’s why I am so proud to support Hispanic Federation and David Villa’s DV7 program and why I fought to allocate $150,000 to them for a soccer clinic for unaccompanied minors. Programs like this can change lives — something this White House ought to learn.”
The City Council allocated $150,000 to Hispanic Federation last year to fund the unaccompanied children’s soccer program, which opened last April and runs through June. That funding pays for transportation to and from public soccer fields, equipment and other related needs. Former New York City Football Club striker and World Cup champion David Villa and his DV7 Soccer Academy provide the soccer programming. The clinic is opened to all kids, regardless of their immigration status, and currently has 126 children enrolled. Of them, 75 were unaccompanied minors. Twice a week they get to come together to practice and play in a safe place under world-class guidance.
“I’ve been fortunate that football has taken me around the world,” said David Villa, Spain’s all-time leading goal scorer, former New York City Football Club captain and founder of the DV7 Soccer Academy. “In every city and in every country I’ve seen how the game transforms lives. It breaks down barriers, reveals character and teaches us how to win and lose with dignity. There is no greater service than to give those gifts to children, to teach and inspire them. The opportunity to partner my academy with Council Member Moya and the Hispanic Federation was a no brainer. We are lucky to have such great leadership and organizations in NYC committed to helping immigrant children and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
“For the skeptics out there that excuse President Trump’s draconian immigration policies as simply border protection, the latest move shows yet again that the White House policies are driven by Trump’s outright contempt and hostility towards our immigrant children and families,” said José Calderón, president of Hispanic Federation. “The purpose of these children entering the U.S. was to have a chance at building a better life. Instead, they have been separated from their families and placed in facilities without any idea of when they’ll be reunited with their loved ones. Sports like soccer are an outlet for them to develop friendships, enjoy being a child, and implement physical activity into their stagnant daily routines. There is no doubt that the Trump administration understands the value of these programs, which makes it all the more grotesque that they would so easily end these programs for unaccompanied minors.”
“We are proud to offer migrant children a place where they can learn how to work together as a team, and socialize with peers from different countries in a fun and positive environment, giving them a break from the daily strain of being away from their loved ones,” said DV7 Soccer Program Director Jessica Loparco. “We see what difference it makes in the lives of these children to have a safe place where they are allowed to be carefree. This administration is chipping away the dignity of vulnerable people that are seeking a better life and we will do all we can to fight these policies.”
About Hispanic Federation
The mission of the Hispanic Federation is to empower and advance the Hispanic community. The Federation works closely with Latino health and human services agencies to promote the social, political and economic well-being of the Latino community. The Federation’s seven strategic action areas include education, health, economic empowerment, immigration and civic engagement, the environment and organizational development assistance. For more information, please visit www.hispanicfederation.org.
About DV7 Soccer
DV7 Soccer was founded in 2015 by Spanish World Cup winner David Villa. DV7 is a network of international youth soccer organizations with the aim of teaching soccer to children all over the world using the Spanish methodology of play. The DV7 curriculum is based on David Villa’s learning experience as a young soccer player and as a professional player under the guidance of some of the best coaches of all times: Luis Aragones, Pep Guardiola, Vicente Del Bosque, and Diego Simeone. For more information, visit www.dv7soccer.com.
For more information, please contact:
Ryan Sit for Council Member Moya’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-957-5611
Shadya Tuason for Hispanic Federation at email@example.com or 240-506-9310
Jessica Loparco for DV7 at firstname.lastname@example.org or 917-622-7374