Broken Shoes, Hearts of Champions – Soccer league in San Juan

Written by, Alison, La Mariposa intern

Los Zapatos Rotos Corazón De Campeón is a soccer league created by Marlin, one of our Spanish teachers here at La Mariposa. His desire to help the local children of San Juan stay out of trouble and out of local gangs prompted him to devote his weekends coaching various teams down the street from La Mariposa. The name of the league (Broken Shoes, Hearts of Champions) represents the true nature of those involved. Although some of the youth might have to borrow shoes to play; this does not deter their desire to succeed as a team. La Mariposa became involved because we believe that participation in sports teaches many skills such as how to communicate and work successfully with others, helps develop a sense of achievement and positive self-image, and fosters a sense of community. Most of all it is undeniable that being part of a sports team helps to keep one busy and out of trouble! Marlin says of his league, “Each youth has a unique story, each story is a life. This league brings people together, but above all it unites parents with their children. In spite of their triumphs and failures now their lives have meaning; they have a dream. Simply put, they are part of a team.”


Marlin with the winning team

With donations we are able to buy much needed materials such as nets, balls and trophies. Also, we are happy to accept donations of  futsal soccer balls, indoor soccer shoes, jerseys, etc… The next step in this project is to join forces with local community leaders to target youths at risk in the surrounding barrios. Our goal is to get them involved by joining a team. Furthermore, we are interested in building a fence surrounding the soccer field. This is to prevent the soccer balls from going into the street and being run over, which is a common problem. If you are interested in learning more about the league, please contact Paulette.


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