Joel Arvelo coaches four different coed recreation teams for Allentown Youth Soccer Club. Arvelo is dedicated to helping youths develop life skills through the beautiful game. This passion for helping kids ages seven to 12 in his community is the reason why he is the AAA Share Your Journey contest winner.
Growing up in Puerto Rico, Joel was not a huge fan of Soccer. He recalls watching Maradona play for Argentina, but other than that soccer was never on his radar. Years later as a parent, that all changed. His kids were getting involved in soccer, and the Allentown Youth Soccer Recreation League was in dire need of volunteer coaches. With some convincing from his wife, Joel stepped up into coaching.
“I started to get to know the kids and then teams formed.”
After a short amount of time, Arvelo found himself in charge of four different teams. He took it upon himself to lead these teams, and to study up on the game of soccer.
“I watched YouTube videos…I started to learn soccer through the activities in coaching; It’s a beautiful game.”
A mission of Joel’s, is to help kids learn life lessons that they can take away from the pitch. He also wants to be a light that can shine into some of the dark places of life.
“I’m here to make a difference in their lives. I try to do everything that is possible for them. I know when they’re with me they’re safe.”
Life is difficult for many, and Arvelo knows this. He creates an environment where kids can escape, and learn fundamental life lessons through soccer. Teamwork, positive thinking, decision making, leadership, discipline and time management is what Allentown Youth Soccer Club is founded on. Arvelo reflects this well, and says that if he can teach the youths one thing it’s this: Don’t quit.
“If you start something finish it. Too many times today people start things and do not finish them.”
Joel want’s all his players to follow through in whatever they do in life. He hopes to instill that mindset through the game of soccer. Order and discipline are two things Joel stresses. He hopes that counseling and mentoring these youth players will help them achieve order and discipline in their lives.
“I don’t care if we win or lose. If we win great; if we lose I help pick them back up. I do this because I love people and want to help them. I want to open the door to other things in life for them.”
This story is part of AAA’s “Start Your Journey” campaign, an effort – in partnership with the Union – to help celebrate families’ journeys in support of their young athletes…the long road trips, all-weekend tournaments, and the special bonds that are formed from the extensive time on the road. Each month, the Philadelphia Union and AAA will select an individual within its soccer network to develop a feature story on their path to success in association with the game of soccer. Additionally, fans are encouraged to share their own stories via social media using #ShareYourJourney.