In June, Michigan Power Futbol Academy received a $4,000 COVID-19 Response Grant from Michigan College Access Network. These grants demonstrate MCAN’s responsiveness to and support of communities affected by the global health pandemic that continues to have a major impact in Michigan, predominantly in minority communities MCAN serves. MPFA will use its grant funding to offer 40 high school students a 20-hour workshop called “Need to Know College Success Workshop.”

Michigan Power Futbol Academy provides soccer training, educational benefits, and leadership development in character and sportsmanship within the Greater Grand Rapids community. In this blog post, MPFA describes how they use soccer to help build success beyond the soccer field

Five Ways to Build Success in Soccer and Life

1. Opportunity for All

Club soccer opens up a world of opportunity for young people who are passionate about the game. Committed players thrive in an environment of professional coaching, access to college scouts, and high-level competition. The downside? Club soccer can be very expensive, and talented players that lack financial means can be left behind, out of view of college recruiters and off the map for athletic scholarships.

Michigan Power Futbol Academy is different. This soccer club offers the benefits of top travel club while eliminating barriers, such as registration fees and transportation costs, for families that qualify. This ensures that motivated players who otherwise might be priced out have a place on the field.

2. Academic Support

Every player, no matter how talented, is one injury away from ending their soccer career. And for every single player, there will come a point where soccer ends, and a plan for life after that point is crucial.

MPFA is the only soccer club in West Michigan that also offers academic support. Since many players are the children of immigrants or may be the first in their families to attend college, they are grateful for the academic support offered by their soccer club.

To ensure success beyond soccer, MPFA works with players to build a plan for the future and to help them understand how playing a sport teaches lessons that lead to success in life.

Alan, a Wyoming High School sophomore and son of Mexican immigrants, said it best. 

“Soccer works your mind. It makes you think creatively. It helps with school — if you’re on the field, you need to think quickly, have quick movement, and be creative.”

At the same time, student athletes who excel on the playing field sometimes struggle in the classroom. Poor grades can result in being benched, which doesn’t solve the problem. That is why MPFA is excited to partner with the Michigan College Access Network. This partnership will allow MPFA players to participate in a Need to Know College Success Workshop.

This workshop, led by experts at Writer’s Alley, demystifies the college experience by helping students understand themselves as learners, clarify what to expect from professors, improve the soft skills needed for success, and understand life on campus.

3. Access to College Recruiters

Soccer is what motivates MPFA players. So to help build excitement for college, MPFA offers Navigating the College Soccer Recruiting Process as a family event. Learning the ins and outs of what scouts are looking for makes all the difference for getting talented players onto a college team that fits their needs as both an athlete and as a student.

Emanuel, a junior at Grand Rapids Union High School who has played with Michigan Power Futbol Academy since 2018, is someone who knows what he wants. 

“I really want to go to college and play soccer at least at a D2 or D1 school,” he said. “I really learned a lot about what colleges can help me with and what I can get from them. I think I can get really good opportunities from Power Futbol, and they can actually help me reach the college level.”

4. A Place to Belong

Michigan Power Futbol Academy is like a second home for many players. Alan noted that even after playing with the club for a week or two, he already felt like he’d been playing with them for years. He attributes this to outstanding coaching and to the fact that there are no cuts. Coaches find a place for each player to belong, whether that is on a Select or Premier team. Everyone fits somewhere.

5. Unity in Diversity

Diversity adds to the sense of camaraderie for these players. Some players hail from as far and wide as Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Guatemala, and Mexico. Some grew up in West Michigan but have families that immigrated from around the globe. Others have deep roots in the greater Grand Rapids area. Many juggle school, part-time jobs, and family obligations. One thing they have in common is a love for soccer. The opportunity to play soccer at a high level is what drives them.

Emanuel echoed the sentiments of many players when he said, 

“I really enjoy playing with some of my Hispanic teammates and I really enjoy playing with a bunch of coaches where I can really learn.” 

That is what Michigan Power Futbol is all about: providing a place where players can learn, develop, lead, and succeed.