Dynamo Charities opens mini field, donates school supplies and football equipment to Jane Long Academy

Zarek Valentin of Houston Dynamo FC and Bri Visalli of Houston Dash were among those in attendance at Jane Long Academy.

They were on the Houston ISD Grades 6 to 12 campus in the Sharpstown area, along with other staff from the organization, to open the mini land they had built and donate school supplies and football equipment at an event on November 11. 18.

Dynamo Charities has been building mini-lots around town for the past five years. The Jane Long Academy mini-court is the 12th it has built in school fields and public parks as part of a 2019 pledge made by former owner Jake Silverstien and current minority owner Ben Guill to build 15 mini-fields over five years.

The mission of Dynamo Charities is to “grow football in Houston and use the power of world football to support worthy causes in the Houston community”.

Visalli played soccer with the students of Jane Long Academy on the newly opened mini-field while Valentin and others from the organization helped coordinate other soccer matches and exercises on the basketball court and the open ground.

“Football is the basis, the fabric of the community,” said Jane Long Academy director Marie Moreno. “This is what brings all my children together.

Local artist Daniel Anguili unveiled a mural he painted on the side of a building near the field.

Anguilu had also designed special jerseys for the Dynamo for Hispanic Heritage Month (which runs from September 15 to October 15) which were auctioned off with the money raised to purchase school supplies for Jane Long Academy with the support from sponsor 76 who had paid Anguilu to design the special jerseys.

“The theme of the mural is energy,” Anguilu said. “I wanted to represent the sun in the middle and two other things that acquire the energy of the sun. The jersey was basically the same. I mainly focused on energy, but for that I used a hummingbird to represent the sun. I have also used a lot of cultural designs in my artwork.

Jersey sponsor Adidas commissioned Anguilu to paint the mural and also donated football equipment to the sports department at Jane Long Academy.

Dynamo Charities, in coordination with the City of Houston, has been running football clinics at the Jane Long Academy since 2019.

The first clinics had around ten participants. Recent clinics had over 50 participants.

At the end of the event, Valentin and Visalli signed player cards for the students.

Valentine described going out to community events as “my favorite thing in the world” and described Houston as a hotbed for football.

He said watching the basketball hoops, the open court, and the jungle gym reminded him of going to recess as a kid.

“I used to play basketball. I was playing soccer. I used to do all these other things, ”he said. “For me, that’s where my love for the sport grew. “We didn’t have places like this in the neighborhood where I grew up, so it’s amazing that we could be a part of something like this. “

elliott.lapin@hearst.com


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