Soccer has become the gift that keeps on giving for the Lauderhill Lions Under-18 Girls Soccer Club.
A total of 16 members of the team have received college scholarship offers that will enable them to continue their soccer careers while pursuing a higher education.
Throughout the journey that began with a core group of girls who got together at the age of seven or eight has been their coach, trainer and mentor Phil Zayas.
The girls youth team started in Cooper City, moved to West (Pembroke) Pines and relocated again to Lauderhill two years ago. Zayas roots to the Lauderhill Lions program goes back to the days when he was playing for the Lions adult team at age 16.
One of the resources that the City of Lauderhill provided was field space at Veterans Park and the Lauderhill Sports Complex.
“We were able to accomplish our goals,” said Zayas, who has been coaching soccer for two decades. “The past couple of years have been the recruiting time for our players to be scouted by various colleges.”
As for team performance, the Lauderhill Lions entered five tournaments over the past year and won all five of them. The primary objective wasn’t necessarily to go out and win games or tournaments, but to showcase all the players for college recruitment purposes.
“The biggest accomplishment was all the college scholarship money that was generated, which we calculated at well over one million dollars,” Zayas said. “All 16 of our graduating players got scholarships. This is very impressive and a huge deal. Through this soccer program at Lauderhill we are bringing tremendous opportunities to the young players.”