Albemarle High School ESOL specialist leading undefeated intramural soccer team
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Albemarle High School has an undefeated sports team that’s been flying under the radar.
Jose Guillermo Guerra Serpas, an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) community engagement specialist, started the intramural soccer team after seeing a big need among his students.
“The guys are having fun, and we’re using also this program as a tool to keep these kids in school, helping them with academics and stuff like that,” Guerra Serpas said.
The team is made up of kids that were cut from Albemarle High School’s JV and Varsity soccer teams. Guerra Serpas says it’s not that the kids are not good enough for the teams, it’s just that such a large amount of students try out. He wanted to provide an opportunity for them to still play, and a place for them to gather after school.
“It isn’t just about being represented, but also because I knew that the people going into this were incredible people, and that I would learn a lot from them. gives me an opportunity to meet new people build my skills,” Albemarle High School senior Rene Lopez said.
Guerra Serpas is also an Albemarle High School alum and he was on the soccer team for three years during his time there. He says he had to sit out his last year. He wants to make sure other students don’t go through any hardships he faced like that.
“I know what it feels not to be able to be part of the team because of your grades, or your absences and whatnot. As a young man, I took the wrong decisions a lot of times and I wasn’t able to be part of the varsity team,” Guerra Serpas said.
The team’s players have to keep up with their grades and attendance in order to come to practice.
“They love the sport, they love what they do, they are willing to, you know, put that 110% and fix whatever issue is going on for them to be able to play again for the team,” Guerra Serpas said.
History teacher Hashim Davis has stepped up to help as well. He’s never coached or played soccer himself, but he wanted to put in the effort for his students.
“We have a strong ESOL population, and I thought that, given the number of students that I have for ESOL, I thought this would be a way to connect with them,” Davis said.
The coach’s dedication, the team’s bond, and the players’ enthusiasm has kept this intramural team undefeated this season.
“The hidden underdogs out there are just waiting there to be discovered, and this helped. Also helps us keep these kids in the right way, you know, and the right track,” Guerra Serpas said.
The team plays its championship game on Wednesday, May 10 at 6 pm. Albemarle High School hopes to expand intramural sports to volleyball soon, too.
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