Kensington coach uses creativity to transform empty cement lot into soccer grid

Christie Ileto Image
Wednesday, November 22, 2023
Kensington coach uses creativity to transform empty cement lot into soccer grid
Kensington Soccer Club coach uses creativity to transform empty cement lot outside Gloria Casarez Elementary into soccer grid for students.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With no green space and limited resources, a Kensington soccer coach got creative for his students.

But a couple of cans of paint didn't just transform a stale blacktop into a soccer grid, Jason Mosquera says he's using art to build a sense of community and belonging.

"You try to the best of your abilities to teach soccer and when you only have a space of cement, it's kind of hard," said Mosquera.

The Kensington Soccer Club coach saw the cement outside Gloria Casarez Elementary as a blank canvas and got creative.

When finished, it transformed into a colorful soccer grid with the school mascot in the center.

"He totally outdid himself. I was so happy!," said Principal Awilda Balbuena.

She says the school has never had a green space or soccer field.

"We make do with what we have, which is sad because I do believe the children in this community deserve way more. (This) is bringing the children together as a community and they're learning to play together because this is a neighborhood where children aren't outside," she said.

The school is in the epicenter of the opioid epidemic and serves a predominantly Latino population.

And while it may not seem like much, a couple cans of paint, and a creative soccer coach are bringing pride and a sense of community in one of the city's toughest neighborhoods.

"I think anyone can do it," said Mosquera. "We're just trying to build some sense of teamwork in the kids and let them be motivated by what you can do as a soccer coach. So hopefully this inspires kids to be part of something."